MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Trial is underway for former Miami Beach police officer charged with four felonies after he was involved in an ATV crash on the beach which seriously injured two people in 2011.
Derick Kuilan and his partner were allegedly drinking at a bachelorette party July 4th, 2011 at the Clevelander Hotel.
“They start dancing with them. They’re having a good time,” prosecutor Eileen Keeley told the jury in her opening statement. “These police officers, they’re not acting like police officers, they’re becoming part of the entertainment.”
Maid of honor, Camille Hippensteel, testified Monday that she thought the officers, buffed out in form-fitting uniforms, could have been sent as party favors for the bridal party.
“Their uniforms were so tight that they almost looked like strippers,” Hippensteel said.
She testified that it did not occur to her that Kuilan might be impaired, but she didn’t think to look for any sign of impairment.
Keeley said Kuilan then took the 28-year bride-to-be Adalee Martin for for a joyride on a police ATV.
“They are flying down the sand and all of the sudden it’s like he hit a wall,” said Keeley.
That “wall” turned out to be Luis Almonte and Kitzie Nicanor who were out for a walk on the beach, according to authorities.
Almonte’s leg was broken. Nicanor also suffered a broken leg, was knocked unconscious and had to have several surgeries. Martin flew off the bike into the sand. Kuilan radioed for help but allegedly never mentioned the accident.
One of the first witnesses on the stand was Martin. She told the jury that she had a shot of tequila that night and a couple of Corona beers at the Clevelander. Martin also said she would not have gotten on the ATV if she suspected Kuilan had been drinking.
“I trusted him because he was a police officer, so I felt safe,” said Martin.
She added “We were going pretty fast. That’s like when I felt like we hit a brick wall.”
Traffic homicide investigator Kerry Humphrey showed jurors photos of the heavily damaged police ATV. Prosecutors believe the photos help prove Kuilan was traveling at a high rate of speed, bolstering their charge that he was driving recklessly. Humphrey said the ATV was going so fast that it flipped over on impact.
Investigators waited several hours before drawing Kuilan’s blood for testing.
Keeley told jurors Kuilan’s “face is flushed, his eye are red” and his “blood results were .088 five hours later he is still over the legal limit.
Kuilan’s defense attorney, Evan Hoffman, admitted that the ATV joyride was “probably not the smartest thing.”
“We agree that there were actions made that were not the best judgement,” said Hoffman.
Hoffman said while Kuilan’s actions and the accident were a civil matter and did not belong in a criminal court. They also plan to challenge the results of the DUI test. Hoffman said no one will testify at the trial that they ever saw Kuilan or his partner actually drinking at the bachlorette party.
Kuilan is charged with two counts of driving under the influence and causing serious bodily harm, and two counts of reckless driving. He faces a maximum prison sentence of ten years.
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