FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A Broward Sheriff’s Deputy is fighting for his life after he wrapped his cruiser around a tree in a rush hour accident in Pompano Beach.
Around 6:15 a.m. Daniel Rivera, 32, was heading south on I-95 when he lost control of his cruiser south of Copans Road.
The sheriff’s office said Rivera was on his way to work at the time of the crash.
“It’s unclear at this point what caused the crash,” said BSO spokeswoman Dani Moschella. “The deputy went off the highway in his marked patrol unit, hit a palm tree. Pompano Beach Fire Rescue transported him to Broward Health North, his injuries are serious.”
The accident happened right by Gray Taxidermy, a business in Pompano Beach.
“The tree was basically center-line of the car if not on the driver’s seat and it was impacted on the passenger side so that was a very extreme hit,” said Bill Dobbelear, manager of Gray Taxidermy.
All southbound lanes of I-95 at Copans Road were closed for about for about two and a half hours for the investigation.
“It was bumper to bumper…We have employees that come from Boynton that came an hour late,” said Dobbelear.
Rivera underwent brain surgery and remains in critical condition. Family members flew in from New York to be by his side while friends and fellow officers flooded the hospital to offer support.
Friends describe Rivera as a good man and dedicated officer who enjoyed working out and staying fit.
“Everybody at the gym is numb. We don’t know how to react,” said one of Rivera’s gym trainers Cham Pierre. “Daniel Rivera is a gentleman. He fits the definition of a martial artist, a very strong individual but super humble.”
Pierre says Rivera had recently gotten engaged and his fiance was supposed to move in with him this month.
“Very nice couple, always smiling always holding hands, coming in and out of the gym. Real cool people,” said Pierre.
The Sheriff’s office noted that at the time of the accident the roads were slick, but are not sure why Rivera lost control of cruiser. Anyone who may have witnessed the crash is asked to call the sheriff’s office or Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS.
“All we can ask for right now are two things; most importantly the prayers of everyone watching and any eyewitness that might have seen this happen a little before 6 a.m. on I-95 in the southbound lanes of traffic, please call the Broward Sheriff’s Office Traffic Homicide Unit and tell them what you saw,” said Broward Sheriff Scott Israel who was at the hospital where Rivera is being treated.
Deputy Rivera started working with BSO in 2003 as a detention deputy. He transferred to the Department of Law Enforcement in 2012. He is assigned to the Pompano Beach District and was on his way to work when the accident happened.