Miami Police are investigating accusations that a local doctor hit a father and son with his car as he weaved his way through Friday's Critical Mass bike ride.
According to a police report and interviews with victims, Mt. Sinai surgeon Irvin Willis drove his black Mercedes SL 550 into the Critical Mass crowd as it crossed the 79th Street Causeway on Friday evening, hitting 22-year-old Anthony Manzano. When Manzano's father tried to stop Willis's car, the doctor allegedly knocked him over too before running over his bicycle and driving off.
"If my dad hadn't jumped off the bike he would have run over him," says Manzano, who escaped with an injured wrist and bruised hip. "He had no concern for the health or well-being of anyone else. Apparently he had to be somewhere at that moment."
New Times left a message at Willis's Mt. Sinai office asking for comment. A receptionist said the doctor was "on vacation" and "unable to be contacted" this week. Calls to Willis's private phone were not returned.
The doctor has not been charged over the accident, although the police report says he was driving in a "careless or negligent manner" and "fled the scene." A Miami Police spokesman said an investigation is under way.
Manzano says he and several hundred other cyclists were headed east towards Miami Beach on the Causeway as they passed Pelican Harbor Drive. That's when Manzano spotted Willis's Mercedes weaving back and forth in an attempt to get through the massive peloton.
"He was actually cutting in front of oncoming traffic, making his own space by bullying his way into lanes," Manzano says.
Manzano's father saw the car strike his son. "My son got in his way and so he turned to hit him," says Ulises Manzano. "He tapped him out of his way, knocked him off his bike. I tried to catch up to him and got close to him to tell him to stop. That's when he actually turned to hit me. He hit my bike tire, I hopped off, and then he ran over my bike."
Ulises Manzano says his bike was mangled under the Mercedes.
"The guy didn't stop," he says. "He basically knocked my son out of the way. It was pretty desperate."
The elder Manzano dialed 911, but didn't realize that his son had been hurt. Instead, he told police that his bike had been wrecked.
The City of Miami dispatched a car. When the cop eventually arrived, he told Ulises that Miami Beach police would have to interview Willis and that the investigation could take a while.
That investigation could be prioritized now that police know Anthony Manzano was injured. Under Florida statute, leaving the scene of an accident involving bodily injury is a felony offense.
Neither Anthony nor Ulises actually saw Willis behind the wheel. But Anthony's mother, Barbara, happened to be farther ahead in the peloton when Willis's Mercedes got stuck at the drawbridge.
"Everybody was saying, 'Oh my god, that guy hit two people,'" she says. "I had no idea it was my son and my husband."
"I can't believe that this guy is a surgeon and would do that something like that," she says. "To hit someone in plain view, in front of so many witnesses, it was so blatantly wrong what he did. Had he just stopped when he hit my son... we could have resolved it."
As upset as her family is with Willis, the Manzanos are also irked at Miami Police. Barbara Manzano says she called cops all weekend but was told they wouldn't be in until Monday. And the detective assigned the case wouldn't be working until Tuesday.
"What if the guy could have hurt other people that night?" she says. "The police are giving us the run-around."
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The absurdity of the incident was made all the worse when, a few hours later, the Manzanos heard that Miami Police had made an arrest: local chef AJ Constantin was handcuffed and sent to jail... for slinging homemade dessert.
"Here we are thinking that the police are going to help us out, and then we hear about AJ getting arrested at the Filling Station for selling ice cream," Barbara Manzano says. "It was just ridiculous."