MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A 31-year-old Miami mother is accused of striking and nearly severing the leg of a Sweetwater man in a hit-and-run accident on Monday.
Detectives say Johanna Cabrera panicked after striking 48-year-old Ismael Martinez. They say she left the scene on Southwest 64th Avenue at Southwest 7th Street and then left ditched her Ford Explorer at her grandmother’s home nearby.
“Of course I am happy about the arrest,” said Melida Arroliga, who shed tears outside Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Arroliga, who has been married to Martinez for 12 years, told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “At least they did something. They helped.”
Martinez’s son Fidel Duarte also received minor injuries in the accident.
When D’Oench asked Duarte about the arrest of Cabrera, he told him, “She is a criminal. To leave someone unconscious, she could have helped him. Justice has got to be justice. I don’t know what to tell her.”
“The harm is already done,” he said. “It’s unrepairable. Even as of today, I don’t know everything. When I woke up, I was under the truck.”
Martinez faces a number of surgeries on his nearly severed leg at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Doctors were able to save his leg.
“He’s still in a lot of pain but he is recovering,” said family friend Paola Hurtado. “I feel relieved. He is better and they don’t have to amputate his leg.”
Cabrera was charged with leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, leaving the scene of a crash with an injury and driving with a suspended license.
She was held on $25,000 bond when she came before a Judge at the Metro Justice Building. She said she had lived in Miami her entire life and told the Judge she was the mother of two girls.
She also said she could not afford to hire an attorney and did not have a job.
An Assistant State Attorney told the Judge she was a “flight risk” and said the victim’s leg was “partially severed.” The Judge ordered Cabrera not to drive once she is able to post bond.
Records show Cabrera has been arrested once before, in 2005 for petty theft.
Detectives say they located the Ford Explorer at the home of Cabrera’s grandmother at Northwest 2nd Street and Northwest 68th Avenue. Family members asked D’Oench to leave the property when he tried to speak with them.
According to an arrest report, Cabrera’s sister claimed Cabrera had called her and intended to surrender to police. Cabrera told detectives she did not know she had struck a “human being” and “displayed great sorrow and remorse.”
The Ford Explorer is now in a Miami Police impound lot. Its damage is extensive. Metal is shredded from the passenger side front of the vehicle and the windshield is shattered.
Miami Police spokesman, Sgt. Freddie Cruz, said, “The proof is here as you see the impact after it struck two victims and a vehicle and left a gentleman in critical condition.”
“Now this lady Johanna Cabrera is facing a slew of charges including leaving the scene of an accident with injuries and driving with a suspended license,” Cruz said.
“This is just the message that we send to the public,” he said. “If you are involved in an accident and it is just an accident, don’t leave victims clinging to life at the scene,” he said.
“There was extensive front-end damage to this vehicle, a broken windshield, damage on the side and dried blood from the victim on the windshield.”