River Cities

Driver tells cops she struck a garbage can. Video shows she hit a motorcyclist — and took off

Maria Elena Menendez
Maria Elena Menendez Miami-Dade Corrections

Police have closed the lid on a case where a woman claimed she struck a garbage can while turning from Northwest 36th Street onto Curtiss Parkway in Miami Springs.

It was a crisp, clear night on Nov. 28 as Eric Colon-Ortiz’s 2002 Honda motorcycle hummed up Northwest 36th Street near Miami International Airport. Though Ortiz had the green light, things quickly turned red when he was bucked by a truck and launched across the street.

The driver took off. Colon-Ortiz, 29, of Dania, was rushed to the hospital with serious injuries.

The next day, Maria Elena Menendez, 55, of Miami, called the station seeking an accident report for insurance purposes, as she had “struck a trash can” the previous night on Northwest 36th Street, the police report states.

Upon review of red light camera crash footage, and further questioning, Miami Springs Police Detective Robert Barrios determined that Menendez’s story was rubbish. Menendez told police that she drove home in her 2018 Toyota Tacoma, about 25 miles away, and did not notice the estimated $5,000 in damages to her truck.

Menendez was charged on Dec. 3 — a trash pickup day in Miami Springs — with leaving the scene of an accident with serious bodily injury and taken to county jail.

Menendez, 55, was released from jail after posting a $7,500 bond and has been placed under house arrest, as she awaits a Jan. 2 hearing, court records show.

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