Woman Injured In Bus Bench Crash Has Died
MIAMI GARDENS (CBS4) – One of five people hospitalized after a car careened into a Miami Gardens bus bench Tuesday afternoon has died. Two others are in critical condition.
It happened at the intersection of 199th Street and NW 2nd Avenue.
Mary Smith, 83, a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother was killed.
“Everyone that knew her knew that she loved the Lord,” said her granddaughter-in-law Tasha Smith. “She was headed to bible study and as unfortunate a tragedy as it is, we know she’s in a better place.”
Tavish Olascoaga and his father Juan are keeping vigil at Ryder Trauma Center where Tavish’s mother Wendy, 44, is in critical condition. Tavish says his mother is undergoing surgery and the family does not know if she’ll make it.
“From what I see the chances are, you know, slim to…,” Tavish said, his voice trailing off. “We have still have hope you know.”
Wendy was critically injured when a Nissan crashed into a bus bench where his mother and several others — including her friend Delia Tafur — were awaiting a bus Tuesday. Tafur, 48, had both of her legs amputated
Wendy’s husband Juan can barely speak.
“It’s crazy,” he said. “It’s a nightmare. She’s a wonderful person. I’m missing her right now.”
Investigators say Mark Derefaka was driving the Nissan. Witnesses say he was speeding on NW 199th Street when he slammed into the bus bench. Court and prison records show Derefaka has a lengthy rap sheet.
Good samaritans lifted and flipped over the Nissan to free a man pinned beneath it.
Tavish is praying for his mother’s recovery and prays the person responsible for so much pain and heartbreak is held accountable.
“There is something called justice,” Tavish told CBS 4’s Carey Codd. “All I can say is it’s not over and we’re going to be there fighting every step of the way, believe that. “
Tavish says his mother usually drove her car everywhere but a couple of weeks she started having car trouble and had to begin taking the bus.
Witnesses described what they saw.
“He didn’t even brake, he didn’t skid, he went right through them,” said Sue Onayak.
She and other witnesses said the driver of a white car was speeding east on NW 199th Street around 4 p.m. when the driver in front of him stopped.
“He over compensated and hit the Nissan and rolled right over the bus bench,” said witness Austin Hines.
“In order to avoid hitting the other car he went up on the sidewalk where there were six people sitting waiting for the bus,” said Miami Gardens Police Captain Ralph Suarez.
Three of the critically injured were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Two 16-year old boys, who suffered multiple fractures, were taken to a Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood where they are expected to make a full recovery.
A woman who identified herself as the sister of the driver responsible, told CBS4 News “I just want the people to know to the family members my heart goes out to them.”
Charges in the case are pending.