MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – Three people were hospitalized after they were involved in an accident with a Miami Beach officer who reportedly took a department ATV for a joyride with a female passenger while he was on duty. The officer was relieved of duty pending an investigation
Police spokeswoman Officer Deborah Doty said the accident happened just after 5 a.m. Sunday morning on the beach near 4th Street.
Miami Beach Police Chief Carlos Noriega told CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald the officer was supposed to be patrolling the beach because of a number of recent thefts.
“I was told he lost control and struck a couple people on the beach,” he said.
Two of the injured, a man and a woman, were taken to Mt Sinai Medical Center; the third person, another woman, was rushed to the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Doty said by early Sunday afternoon the woman taken to Mt. Sinai was released from the hospital, the other two were still being treated Sunday.
Police have not released the name of the officer involved or the names of the victims.
Miami Beach Mayor Mattie Bower was outraged by the news.
“It is terrible. It is terrible,” she said. “It is not supposed to happen. This is not what the police is all about. This is not what they are supposed to be doing. They are supposed to be taking care of us drinking or not the other policeman was supposed to be in North Beach.”
Bower said the officer abandoned his post on the beach to have a drink at the Clevelander while he was on duty. That’s where she said he met a woman and took her on the ATV ride along the beach, ultimately crashing into a couple.
Miami Beach Police Chief Carlos Noriega declined to speak with CBS 4 News but later released a statement.
“On my orders the officer was immediately relieved of duty pending the results of the various investigations,” said Noriega in his statement.
“Should the investigations determine that the officer involved in this accident failed to follow existing policies and /or procedures then I will take swift and firm action. The safety and well being of our residents and visitors is the Miami Beach Police Department’s primary mission.”
Some tourists and locals found walking along the beach after dark were appalled by case.
“It’s terrible. There should be an investigation obviously,” said Pam Pester, a tourist.
Grace Cabezas lives on Miami Beach and said she will be more careful walking out there after dark.
“That is disgraceful, horrible, a police officer is supposed to take care of us and protect us,” said Cabezas. “We’re not supposed to worry about police officers drinking on the job, that’s crazy.”
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