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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Grief-stricken friends and family members cannot believe their loss after a wrong way accident killed five people.
CBS4’s Peter D’Oench spoke with a close friend of the accused wrong way driver, Alexandra Lefler, who had moved to Miami two months ago from San Francisco to help her ailing father, who recently died.
Before the crash, Leffler had just finished a shift at the restaurant she worked at and was headed home, her friend told D’Oench.
Lefler was killed in the head-on collision. Four family members were in the vehicle she allegedly struck. None survived, including 46-year-old Miguel Gil.
“I can’t believe it. I mean how can things like that happen. I mean in order to get on the ramp you have to be going the right way. I have no idea how he died. This was so bad,” said Gus Omana, a member of the family.
Omana says Gil was known for his kindness and generosity.
“He was a very nice guy. He was the best husband. I can say that he was very nice to his wife. He was a very good man. If he could do you a favor he would do it,” remembered Omana.
Also inside the car were Gil’s mother, brother-in-law, Jose Labrador, and his sister, Dr. Gisela Gil-Egui, a professor at Fairfield University in Connecticut.
“I wouldn’t imagine this. We were the type of people who think things like this don’t happen to us,” said Omana.
The tragedy happened as members of Gil’s family from Venezuela, Texas and Connecticut were gathering for the holidays at Gil’s Cooper City home.
“We’re still in shock. We haven’t processed the tragedy involving this family. We are speechless. There are no words to say,” said Aquiles Lima, a friend.
Gil and his mother had just picked up Gil-Egui and Labrador at the Miami Airport and were headed to Cooper City when Florida Highway Patrol said the southbound car driven by Lefler hit them near the Miami Gardens Drive exit on I-95.
“I haven’t seen an accident like this in a long time. I can tell you that much,” said FHP Trooper Joe Sanchez.
The family is desperate for answers.
“It’s not the first time we’ve seen this. Unfortunately we’re not certain what the facts are or what happened and what the circumstances were,” said Lima.
Upon hearing the news, the president at Fairfield University released a statement:
On behalf of the staff and faculty at Fairfield University, we are saddened to learn about the tragic death of Dr. Gisela Gil-Egui and her family. She was a beloved member of our faculty and community who will be greatly missed.
Dr. Gil-Egui was a delightful friend, an enthusiastic and inspiring colleague, and an accomplished academic, receiving her B.A. from Universidad Central de Venezuela, and her M.A. and Ph.D from Temple University. As an Associate Professor of Communication at Fairfield University, she taught courses focusing on globalization of mass media and information, mass media and society and other subjects, she assisted her students on their thesis proposals and research, and was an avid and inspiring faculty collaborator in a number of other projects and committees.
Investigators are now trying to determine if Lefler was impaired. Her friend said she was planning on moving back to California on Monday.