SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBS4) – Two people, including a veteran Florida Highway Patrol officer, were hospitalized after another head-on collision on Krome Avenue; and FHP tells CBS4 that this is a particularly alarming story.
An FHP spokeswoman said the driver may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, according to a witness.
Investigators also said the driver whose car struck the trooper not only has an outstanding warrant for DUI, but records show that he was also arrested for DUI in 2008 and was arrested twice for disorderly intoxication in 1996 and 2001. The driver was also just arrested this month for possessing marijuana, which was the second time he was arrested for that offense.
The driver was identified as Carlos Mauricio Pena, 32, of Kendall.
Investigators said the accident happened this morning a mile north of Kendall Drive on Krome Avenue. They said Trooper Lynn Stein, a 21-year veteran, was headed northbound when her car was struck by a Chevrolet Cavalier driven by Pena.
FHP said it appears that Pena’s car veered into Stein’s lane, but there will be no official ruling until the investigation is complete. His crushed car remained on the scene until a tow truck removed it just before 1 p.m., enabling Krome Avenue to be reopened in that area.
“We think alcohol or drugs could be a factor in this incident,” said FHP spokeswoman, Trooper Nelvys Hernandez. “We did have a female witness say that she sensed some type of odor.”
Troopers visited West Kendall Baptist Hospital, where Stein was treated and eventually released on Friday afternoon. She told security officers at the hospital that she did not want to speak.
But Hernandez told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that, “She is doing well. She had some minor injuries to her legs.”
“The trooper’s doing well,” said FHP Captain Marshall Davies after he visited her at the hospital in the morning. “She’s being checked out by doctors and has some pain killers for her legs.”
“We have a lot of concern for her and we hope all goes well,” said Davies.
Hernandez said that because of the outstanding warrant for Pena for DUI, he would be arrested at Jackson Memorial Hospital and placed in Ward D. “He has to be arrested and he will be arrested,” said Hernandez.
Records show that Pena lives at a home in Country Walk. No one was at home when CBS4 checked.
Investigators said this accident shows how dangerous this job can be.
“We stress that with the officers all the time but by nature with what we do, we are always exposed to dangers.” said Davies.
“We tell the community that we have to be careful when we get behind the wheel,” said Hernandez. “Safety is our number one concern. We need to be considerate when we get behind the wheel.”