MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A driver of a pick up truck who struck a motorcycle officer on Monday reportedly told investigators he was forced swerve to avoid hitting another vehicle.
The explanation sounded plausible until investigators reviewed footage from a red light camera near the scene of the accident.
Originally Hector Ramirez, 49, told investigators he was heading North on SW 37th Avenue in the left hand lane. As he approached W Flagler Street, Ramirez said a vehicle abruptly changed lanes in front of him, according to his arrest affidavit.
“He said there was some sort of light blue or silver vehicle driven by the elderly person,” said police spokesman Det. Willie Moreno.
Ramirez claimed he swerved to avoid hitting it and that’s when he hit the motorcycle officer Juan Carlos Erigoyen who was providing escort for a funeral procession.
Investigators requested the surveillance video from the department which handles the city’s red light camera in hopes of getting a better description of the vehicle that Ramirez said cut him off.
That’s when they caught Ramirez in a lie, according to the report.
Det. Moreno told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “We had to keep showing him this video and he admitted that he lied.”
The footage captured Ramirez’s truck, and others around him, stopped in traffic due to a red light. Ramirez was fourth in line, and since he and the others were stopped, there was no way a car could cut him off.
As Erigoyen approached the intersection from the southbound direction with his lights flashing, the surveillance video shows Ramirez pull out, crossed the double yellow solid line and collided with Erigoyen.
“It shows the truck cutting in front of the officer,” said Moreno.
Moreno said basically, Ramirez made an illegal left turn and then lied about it.
“You know the important thing after an accident is to stop, render aid and then tell the truth,” said Moreno.
Erigoyen was taken to the hospital but there was so much swelling it made it difficult for the medical staff to determine if bones in his shoulder were fractured or broken.
D’Oench also spoke with fellow officers who were at Jackson Memorial Hospital visiting Officer Erigoyen.
Sgt. Manny Gonzalez of the Miami Police Dept. told D’Oench, “He is doing ok. But he is in some pain because of the part of the truck that bumped his motorcycle.”
Police say it’s another reminder to obey the law. They say you never know when or where a surveillance or traffic camera will capture criminal activity.
Ramirez was cited for failure to yield to an emergency vehicle and charged with providing false information in a crash report. That’s a 2nd degree misdemeanor.