MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The woman who made national headlines for pulling over a Miami-Dade police officer has a checkered driving history, and the cop isn’t much better.
“He’s been driving recklessly, going about 100 mph because I was doing 80 and I could not catch up to him,” Castillo can be heard commenting on the video as she followed officer Daniel Fonticiella.
As it turns out, Castillo may be just as guilty of driving reckless.
Court records show since 1998 she’s been cited nine times for speeding, speeding in school zones, driving without a license and accidents.
And, according to the records, her latest crash happened just two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, the officer she pulled over has a checkered driving history as well.
CBS4 took a look at his personnel file.
Next to a stack of commendations for doing excellent police work, Fonticiella’s file also has a stack equally as large for accidents.
The file revealed that over the last decade Fonticella has crashed seven times. Most of the accidents were deemed non-preventable, but three were his fault.
In October 2006, records show he sideswiped a vehicle on Miami Beach. A year later he crashed straight into a concrete poll while turning right. His police vehicle, a rented car, sustained $10,000 in damage. A few months after this accident he hit another poll trying to avoid a suspect. Fonticella had to take extra driving courses and since then has had three more accidents, though those were not his fault.
In fact, he was recognized recently for not having accidents.
Castillo filed a complaint against the officer.
Police Director Juan Perez, who was officially sworn in Tuesday at the commission meeting, said internal affairs investigators are looking into the incident.
“In today’s day and age everything’s being videotaped, everybody’s watching everybody has greater demands of us, whether it’s right or wrong, the perception that was created by that traffic stop sheds a light on all of us,” said Perez.
On the video, Castillo followed Fonticella on the Palmetto Expressway (SR-826), then the Dolphin Expressway (SR-836) – eventually catching up and getting his attention near I-95 by honking her horn and flashing her lights.
He pulled over and came back to her car. In the video, you hear Castillo saying, “The reason I pulled you over today, I just wanted to know, what’s the emergency?”
On the video, a very courteous Fonticiella explains that he was on his way to work at PortMiami and didn’t believe he was speeding.
Fonticiella replied, “Um, I don’t know how fast I was going? But I can tell you this: I’m on my way to work right now. I don’t believe I was speeding.”
He then promised Castillo that he would slow down.
“I appreciated the officers attitude, the fact that he was contrite,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez. “I thought he handled it pretty well but he shouldn’t have been speeding.”
Police officers speeding along South Florida’s highways is nothing new.
A few years ago, Miami police officer Fausto Lopez was fired after a Florida Highway Patrol trooper clocked him going 120 mph on the Turnpike.
An investigation by the Sun-Sentinal revealed nearly 800 officers from agencies across South Florida routinely speed; 96-percent of them flying between 90 to 110, more than half, stepping on the gas to or from work.
“Do I think there’s an issue,” said Gimenez responding to a question about whether he sees this as a concern. “I think you and I see it on the road every day, but I’ve seen less of it on the road.”
The president of the Miami-Dade Police Union, John Rivera, said there is no proof that Fonticiella was speeding in the video. He then criticized Castillo, pointing out that officers are trained to drive at high rates of speed while she was not.
In response, Castillo said she can’t remember the last time she got a speeding ticket, and insists she has no personal vendetta against law enforcement. She said this was only about safety.