MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The mother of 23-year-old Ernesto Hernandez is preparing to face the first anniversary of his death in a boating accident.READ MORE: Miami Weather: Chilly Start, Warm Afternoon With Plenty Of Sun
“My life is destroyed. My daughters. My whole family. We don’t have a life anymore. Nothing to be happy because we’re missing Ernesto,” Maricel Valdez told CBS4’s Natalia Zea.
The family is very upset now that they have learned the man behind the controls of the boat that killed him, Lazaro Mendez, better known as Miami radio host DJ Laz, will not face criminal charges for it.
“I’m really disappointed. I don’t believe it until now. They have to be guilty because the way he’s running the boat. I don’t agree at all. I’m really disappointed,” said Valdez.
DJ Laz was at the controls of his boat, when a group of people tried to push him off the Nixon Beach sandbar in Key Biscayne.
Hernandez was sucked under the boat and suffered deadly injuries, cut by the boat’s propellers.
Prosecutors found Thursday that there was not enough evidence to prove Mendez was criminally liable for the death.
The case closeout memo reads in part, “There is insufficient evidence to prove that (Mendez) was under the influence of alcohol to the extent that his faculties were impaired.READ MORE: Pirates Send Gold Glove Catcher Jacob Stallings To Miami
“There are 13 witnesses who were on Lazaro Mendez’s boat who saw him consuming a beverage. Every one of them says that he was drinking a non-alcoholic drink.”
And it’s not clear whether Laz warned Ernesto and the others pushing the boat that he was starting the engines.
The state attorney memo reads, “There is a conflict in testimony about whether or not the persons pushing the vessel were given a warning that the engines would be engaged.”
Shortly after learning the charges were dropped, Laz posted a message on his Facebook page reading, “My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the Hernandez family as they continue to heal from the loss of Ernesto from the sad tragic day.”
His attorney, Mycki Ratzan, added in a statement, “This is a tragedy, that is undeniable, but we appreciate the State Attorney’s Office reviewing the clear evidence and not compounding the tragedy by filing criminal charges where non are warranted or appropriate. Though there are no winners here today, justice was served.”
But DJ Laz will still have to face a judge.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission gave him a civil citation Friday for careless operation of a boat resulting in death. He will pay up to $1,000 fine and will be required to appear in court.
That does little comfort Valdez.
“That’s no pain. To take a ticket and go to court. It’s nothing for me, at all.”MORE NEWS: Busy 2021 Hurricane Season Comes To An End
The Hernandez family is suing DJ Laz for wrongful death. The next hearing is set for April 30th in that case.