SUV Smashes SW Dade Store, Kills Owner, Another

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBS4) – Two women, one of them pregnant, died Tuesday afternoon when an elderly man apparently lost control of his SUV and slammed into a Southwest Miami-Dade business.

CBS4’s Tiffani Helberg reported the unidentified driver was pulling into a parking space at a strip mall located at 13357 SW 42nd Street when the vehicle somehow accelerated and smashed into the front of the Celeste & Co. Boutique.

The owner of the store, Celeste Gaitan, was sitting on a bench outside of the entrance with a female customer in her 20s.

Miami-Dade police spokesperson Det. Roy Rutland said the SUV ran over the women as it crashed into the store, badly injuring them. The female customer died at the scene of her injuries.

Margaret Gurabara, a close friend of Celeste was in shock as she described what happened.

“They were on the bench when the car lost control and went in, and they were pinned under the bottom of the car,” Gurabara said. “I can’t believe this, I can’t believe this. I live across there and she’s such a good friend of mine.”

Gaitan was taken to Kendall Regional Hospital in a desperate attempt to save her seven-month-old unborn baby.  Sadly, the efforts to save the baby were unsuccessful, according to police.

The driver of the SUV was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. The driver’s wife, who was in the passenger seat, was not hurt.

The family of the driver, who has not been identified, released this statement late Tuesday:

Today is a very sad day for my entire family and for me. I feel an immense pain, both for the people who lost their lives and because members of my family are involved in this tragic accident.

I know this moment is so painful that words are not enough, but I want to express on behalf of my family, my parents, and myself, from the bottom of our hearts, our most sincere condolences to the families of the people who accidentally lost their lives.


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