HOMESTEAD (CBS4) – For the first time, we’re seeing videotape from a deadly alcohol-related accident in Homestead and why a former Homestead police officer who was allegedly driving drunk was not charged with DUI manslaughter.
CBS4 has obtained the videotape exclusively through a public records request with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office and it graphically shows what happened at 4 a.m. on October 3rd, 2010.
On the tape that was taken from a red light camera, authorities say you see former Homestead Sergeant James Orebaugh heading northbound in his truck with his fiancé Valerie Mae Bishop, who was his front-seat passenger.
Authorities say he had a green light and was driving 44 miles per hour, a mile below the speed limit.
Suddenly, you see a bicyclist, 24-year-old Jose Brito Ceto, ride directly into the path of Orebaugh’s truck. He was knocked off his bicycle. Orebaugh was seen stopping his truck and waiting for police to arrive. Ceto died while being airlifted to the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
A report from the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office last December 23rd notes that Ceto rode his bicycle into the path of Orebaugh’s vehicle at the intersection of Northeast 8th Street and North Homestead Boulevard. The report says that Ceto was almost struck by another vehicle near the intersection so he sped up his pace on his bicycle.
Prosecutors noted that both Ceto and Orebaugh were drunk, according to tests. But they said that the accident was caused by Ceto. So Orebaugh was charged only with DUI, a misdemeanor.
The State Attorney’s report noted that Orebaugh’s blood alcohol content was .149, which was nearly twice the legal limit. Ocular fluid toxicology results on Ceto indicated a BAC of .18, according to the report.
According to the report, Bishop said she and Orebaugh had just left the Peachtree Lounge and were on their way to McDonald’s for breakfast.
The report says, “A subpoena issued to the Peachtree Lounge returned a bar tab and credit receipt in the name of James E. Orebaugh; the tab includes the purchase of six Miller Lite Beers, two Michelob Ultra Beers, two Smirnoff and Orange Juice drinks and one ‘SS Wash Apple’ drink.” Bishop told investigators that she has consumed Smirnoff and orange juice.
CBS4’s Peter D’Oench tried to reach Orebaugh for comment. He twice stopped by his house in Homestead and knocked on the door but no one answered.