Miami Beach

Miami Beach bike officer injured after car takes off during traffic stop

Miami Beach Police Department a focus of news conference.
Miami Beach Police Department a focus of news conference. The Miami Herald

A police officer was released from the hospital Sunday after being dragged 300 feet by a car and then thrown to the pavement after a traffic stop Saturday night in South Beach.

The drama started just before 11 p.m. Saturday in the 100 block of Ninth Street.

Police officers patrolling the area on bicycles spotted two cars racing on the road and attempted to pull them over, Miami Beach police Chief Dan Oates said Sunday at police headquarters. Both cars stopped on Seventh Street and Ocean Drive.

Officer Eduard Alba approached the driver of the first car, a rented Mercedes S550, and asked for license and registration, “at which point the vehicle took off,” Oates said.

“Somehow Officer Alba became connected to the vehicle and was dragged,” the chief said.

Alba, a seven-year veteran of the force, suffered a concussion and blacked out for 5 to 10 minutes, according to Oates. He also had serious road rash on his arms and legs. He spent the night in the hospital.

Oates credited the bicycle officer’s helmet with preventing more serious injuries.

“God knows what additional injuries he would have had when he struck his head if he had not been wearing a bicycle helmet,” he said. “The percentage of police officers that are actually wearing a helmet when they conduct a car stop is very, very small. We were extremely fortunate that Officer Alba happened to be wearing a helmet.”

Meanwhile, the driver of the second car stayed put and was cited for reckless driving. Easton Stanbury Jr., 18, of Brooklyn, New York, was in a rented BMW convertible. The two drivers knew each other.

On Sunday, tips led police to the driver who is accused of taking off.

Meshach Samuels, 18, of Brooklyn, was arrested at a La Quinta motel on Commercial Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. The car, which had minor damage on the driver’s side, also was found there.

Samuels is charged with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, fleeing and eluding with serious bodily injury, resisting arrest with violence, leaving the scene of a crash with serious injury, reckless driving with serious injury, and driving without a valid license. He remained in jail Sunday night on no bond.

Three other people were in the car at the time of the traffic stop, but they were not immediately charged.

“Obviously that was extraordinarily dangerous and reckless behavior,” Oates said. “Anybody who knows a Saturday night on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, knows that that would be the case.”

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