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MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Police have identified a woman shot and killed after she reportedly ran down an officer while attempting to flee the scene of an accident.
Monday officers identified her as 22-year-old Cariann Denise Hithon and the Miami Beach officer she reportedly ran down as David Cajuso.
Witnesses said Hithon was behind the wheel of a black BMW early Sunday evening around 6 p.m. when she crashed into a truck on 12th Street and Ocean Drive. She reportedly fled West and hit another vehicle on Lincoln Drive.
As she was reportedly driving away from the scene, she found herself surrounded by police near Washington and 12th Street. During her attempt to escape, she reportedly hit a uniform patrol officer who was dealing with bystanders.
“She started the car and ran away,” said witness Miguel Garcia. “She was, like, going over the policeman in front of her, the officer.”
Garcia said when he saw the woman’s face, she had a wild, crazed expression.
“She was staring, it was very scary looking, I think she was on drugs or something,” said Garcia.
Another cop unloaded on the BMW after the officer was run down.
“At that point the other cop started shooting. I heard like shots, like four or five shots, like ‘pow, pow, pow, pow!’ And then the car lost control,“ Garcia added.
The BMW continued westbound on 12th Street where it struck a Pathfinder SUV and came to a rest. The woman was taken to the Ryder Trauma Center where she died. A man who was with her in the car was taken for questioning.
The girl’s father Cary Hithon reached by phone in Bowie, Maryland told CBS4 his daughter was in South Florida celebrating her 22nd birthday.
“We just had a conversation recently… she was going to do great things for society and our culture,” said Hithon. “She wanted to make a difference in the lives of people who weren’t as fortunate as her.”
Hithon doesn’t understand how his daughter, who was set to enter law school, was killed.
“It’s terrible, you can’t help but have quite a bit of despair and anguish, because you don’t understand how it could happen,” he said. “It’s out of character what they’re telling me, but I’m not there. I believe something was going on. Maybe she did panic.”
A YouTube video featuring his daughter shows her talking about the importance of civil behavior.
The officer she is accused of hitting, Cajuso, has since been released from the hospital.
Miami-Dade Police, an outside agency, will conduct the police shooting investigation.