PINECREST (CBSMiami) – A Pinecrest Police officer is accused of failing to render aid at the scene of a deadly accident. She’s now taking criticism for not helping the man and woman who died.
On October 16th a driver struck two University of Miami graduate students, Ying Chen and Hao Liu.
Off-duty Miami Police Sergeant Javier Ortiz happened to be in the area and came upon the scene immediately.
“I jumped out of my car, I have a defibrillator, and checked the vitals on both victims,” Ortiz told CBS4 News reporter Gary Nelson Thursday.
“I immediately started CPR on the female. It was just me. I had no one to work on the male and I was waiting for help to arrive,” said Ortiz.
A dash camera from a Pinecrest police car shows the first possible help arriving, Pinecrest Officer Ana Carrasco.
The video shows a blood covered Ortiz administering CPR to the female victim.
Officer Carrasco gets out of her car and approaches.
“I told her that the male was not breathing and had no pulse and she needed to turn him over and start CPR,” said Sergeant Ortiz.
“I got no response. She just stood there,” added Ortiz.
The dash camera video showed the officer standing with her hands in her pockets watching Ortiz try to help the stricken female student.
Ortiz said he begged her to help.
“I said it again and again and again,” Ortiz said. “There were people, civilians, yelling at her to please do something and she did absolutely nothing.”
In recorded statements, witnesses said Officer Carrasco did not help the victims.
An audio recording with Calvert Evers said: “She got within, I don’t know five feet and just kind of stood there and looked at him and he, the officer, yelled at her ‘Get over here and start doing CPR on this guy.’ He distinctly said it. He was pissed he said ‘Get over here and start doing CPR’ and she just stood there.”
A statement from Samantha Evers said: “She walked slowly and he started yelling at her. She didn’t kneel, she didn’t do anything. She just looked and walked away.”
When questioned as part of an internal affairs investigation, Carrasco said she gave Ortiz a pair of gloves when he asked for them, told bystanders to back away from the scene and tried to locate the vehicle that hit the victims which was stopped a short distance away.
A recording of Carrasco’s statement says, “I actually made a visual assesment on the male facing down. I didn’t see him breathing I didn’t see his lungs or chest expanding or any signs of life.”
Later she said, “Based on my training, education, experience I was concerned flipping the male victim over. I was concerned it could cause cervical or spinal injury and maybe kill him. I don’t know if he’s dead or not. I run back to my car to see if I have more gloves to see if I can search for any vital signs at that time rescue arrived.”
She said she never checked vital signs because she didn’t have another pair of gloves.
In the end, neither Chen nor Liu survived.
Chen’s boyfriend Pengfei Sun is devastated by the loss of his girlfriend. “I just want the truth,” he said. “I miss her.”
Ortiz, too, says he still grieves their deaths and is livid at the Pinecrest officer who did nothing.
“She has no business wearing a badge and a gun,” Ortiz said. “Somebody that wears a badge and gun takes an oath, and part of that oath on or off duty is to save lives and she didn’t do it.”
A thirty-two page investigative report by Pinecrest Police, obtained by CBS4 News, found Officer Carrasco failed to render aid at an accident involving serious injury.
Her proposed punishment was a one-week suspension without pay.
Miami’s Ortiz was incredulous.
“I think that’s pretty unheard of,” Ortiz said. “I’m actually surprised that Pinecrest would be so lenient. In our department, you would be terminated for that.”
Pinecrest Police Chief Samuel Ceballos in a written statement late Thursday said he is not bound by the recommendation of the one-week suspension, which was made by a division lieutenant.
Ceballos said he will determine the officer’s punishment after meeting with her and her union attorney.
A final decision must be approved by the Village of Pinecrest manager.
Efforts to reach Officer Carrasco through her Police Benevolent Association attorney were unsuccessful.