MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Carolina Cuadra went to work every day of the year to deliver newspapers for the Miami Herald. She was on her way to work Thursday morning in her small Toyota when the driver of a pickup truck rear-ended her car on the southbound Palmetto expressway at 36th Street. The Toyota was crushed like tinfoil. Cuadra was killed outright, as was her father, Isaac Antonio Lopez, visiting from Nicaragua.
Cuadra, 43, was a wife and mother of three daughters.
“It’s not fair. She was going to work,” said Cuadra’s daughter Claudia at their Hialeah home Friday. “Stop the drinking and driving.”
The Florida Highway Patrol says it is investigating whether alcohol played a role in the accident, but has reached no conclusion.
FHP Sgt. Thomas Pikul said there were no “overt” signs that Jeffrey Hood, 45, the driver of the pickup had been drinking. His blood was drawn at the scene, however, and the results of the blood alcohol tests are pending.
“A distraction could have been the cause or a number of other factors, including impairment,” Pikul told CBS4 News.
The heavy damage done the rear-ended Toyota would indicate Hood was traveling at a considerably higher rate of speed. Investigators have not said what if any statements he made on the scene. Attempts by CBS4 News to reach Hood on Friday were not successful. No one answered the door at his Southwest Miami-Dade home and his telephone number is unlisted.
Hood, an employee of the solid waste department for Miami-Dade County was in his personal vehicle, a Dodge pickup, pulling an open trailer like those used to haul riding lawn makers and other equipment. His job with the county is to drive large trash trucks. Records indicate he has had more than a dozen accidents. In three of those, he was alleged to have been at fault.
Cuadra’s husband, Jose, is also a carrier for the Miami Herald. He is left with three daughters, ages 21, 13 and 7.
Isaac Lopez, 68, visiting from Nicaragua, was planning to return in a few weeks.
Claudia Cuadra, a student at Miami Dade College, looked at photographs of her mother and grandfather in the family’s living room Friday and wept.
“They have taken away the two most precious people in my life,” she said.