MIAMI (CBS4) – The daughter-in-law of an 86-year-old grandfather who was killed after two young people were speeding and driving aggressively on Southwest 8th Street is speaking out, saying “he wanted to do things and now it’s been taken away.”
In an exclusive interview with CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, Beatriz Guzman said she wanted to speak about her father-in-law because she said too many young adults are driving recklessly and endangering other people.
“He was a very nice man, a family man,” she said. “He was retired and just living his life. He was going to be 87 on April 15th and we expected him to live for quite awhile.”
“He was on his way to pickup his grandson, my son,” she said. “He would take him to school in the morning and he would pick him up and take care of him.”
Guzman prided himself on being a grandfather and thought Tuesday afternoon would be like any other day.
Guzman, who was a retired house and commercial painter, died an hour after his pickup truck was struck from behind and overturned on Southwest 8th Street at 120th Avenue. He was ejected.
The Florida Highway Patrol says a grey Honda Accord driven by 17-year-old Jose I. Mendoza hit the rear of Guzman’s truck after Mendoza and the unidentified operator of a red car were driving aggressively.
“Two vehicles were traveling westbound at a high rate of speed, improperly changing lanes and driving very aggressively,” said Trooper Joe Sanchez. “We can’t say how fast they were going but they were speeding.
Sanchez could not say if the two drivers were drag racing but he had a warning about reckless driving by young people.
“My concern is that there are kids out there driving on our roads driving recklessly and speeding. They need to realize that only are they putting their lives in danger but they are also putting other people’s lives in danger,” Sanchez said.
“He had plans. He had dreams,” said Guzman of her father-in-law. “He wanted to do things and now it’s been taken away.”
“I feel terrible that all these young adults and kids are driving very fast and racing,” she said. “I know Southwest 8th Street makes it very easy with four lanes. It’s a real nice open road to speed on those lanes but something needs to be done. Just follow the speed limit and be careful.”
“I know there must have been speeding because it was bad enough to make my father-in-law’s truck flip over,” she said.
Guzman said her father-in-law was a widower and had only one son.
“That son is my husband,” she said. “My father-in-law had only one child. And he is devastated. He considered his son to be like his friend as well.”
Sanchez said the driver of the red car did not strike Guzman’s vehicle and has so far not been identified.
He said investigators found no evidence that alcohol was a factor in this accident.
The investigation by FHP investigators could take at least a few weeks.
“There are a lot of witnesses to speak to,” he told D’Oench.
Their report will be sent to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office for review.
He said charges are pending and could include vehicular homicide.