SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) – Investigators say a horrible head-on crash early Sunday on Krome Avenue that claimed three lives including a 15-year-old girl was caused by a driver going the wrong way.
The Florida Highway Patrol says the person going the wrong way was the brother of that girl: 19-year-old Erick Betancourt.
FHP says Erick was behind the wheel of a 2004 Dodge Durango when he ended up driving southbound in the northbound lane of Krome Avenue at SW 144th Street.
FHP says the Dodge Durango with Betancourt and his sister, Gisele Betancourt, 15, and their cousins, Julissa Ochoa 16, and Samuel Domifilo, 24 crashed into a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier with two people inside. Erick Betancourt’s father told CBS4 reporter Gaby Fleischman a fifth passenger was in the Durango: Erick’s sister, Maria.
Gisele Betancourt and both of the Cavalier’s occupants died in the crash.
“The Durango improperly changed lanes,” said FHP trooper Joe Sanchez. “The impact was so severe the vehicles ignited and were engulfed in flames.”
Friends identified the two people killed in the Cavalier as Anthony Rodriguez, 22, and Gabriel Hernandez. They were on their way home from a bonfire and were pinned inside the burning car. Both died on scene.
Friends of Rodriguez say they can not believe he is gone.
“Every time he was around it was just the ‘funnest’ thing he was always laughing he was always making jokes,” said Lewis Martinee. “Without him I don’t even know what I’m gonna do anymore.”
Rodriguez was a well-known Electric Dane Music DJ and producer and had worked with famous DJ’s including Laidback Luke and Steve Aoki. Friends say Rodriguez was working on new music and was in the studio with them just one day before he was killed.
“He definitely impacted the dance music scene,” said his close friend DJ Lemony Snickettes. “A lot of people knew him, respected him and it’s very sad that this happened… his music will always live on even though he’s gone.”
Investigators said they are working to determine if alcohol played a role in the crash.
FHP said Erick Betancourt was given a blood alcohol test. Those test results are pending.
“Krome Avenue, it’s a two lane highway and it’s dark out there. You have to drive very carefully. When you attempt to improperly pass people you can expect that traffic headed your way is the traffic going in the opposite direction. This is an ongoing investigation. That’s why we sent three traffic homicide investigators out there. This area is dark and we needed to make sure the area was well lit and secure for the investigation.”