DORAL (CBS4) – On the first night of the new school year, several young people learned one of the hardest lessons of their lives; how to say goodbye to someone so young.
“Daniel was a good friend, a very good friend,” cried Dalia Verzan.
Daniel Cardenas, 17, was killed Saturday night, along with his friends Veronica Santiago, 17, and Isis Jimenez, 15. The car they were riding in slammed into a concrete pole in Doral slicing the car into two pieces. Their friends say the first day of school was like no other.
“Everybody was crying, it was very sad. Very, very, very sad,” said Verzan.
Alberto De Jesus Coteron Oliva, 19, was behind the wheel and ran away from the scene with only cuts and bruises. He later turned himself in and is now facing criminal charges. Investigators believe he crashed, because he was racing his Honda Civic against a black Infiniti that has since disappeared.
Oliva’s mother showed up to bond court crying to the judge. Her words translated by a court interpretor.
“He’s a good boy, he’s a good son, he’s a good brother. We’re a very close family,” said Oliva’s mother.
Veronica Santiago’s family says the night of her death, she was hanging out at Dolphin Mall and had asked Oliva for a ride home. Her family says they were friends. She called her mother 20 minutes before the crash, saying she would be home by her 11:00 curfew. She never arrived.
Santiago’s family says she had a high GPA and planned to study medicine at the University of Miami.