The day before Father's Day 2017, Ramon Bueno was driving through an intersection when a Miami Police cruiser driven by Officer Lucas Rodrigues blew through a red light and slammed into the driver's-side door of Bueno's car. The impact was so powerful the two cars spun out of control and crashed into another vehicle stopped at the light. Bueno, age 71, was hurried to the hospital in critical condition. He later died.
Two years later, as she marks another Father's Day without her dad, Daimy Bueno is suing the City of Miami for wrongful death. Filed June 13 in Miami-Dade circuit court, her lawsuit accuses the city of negligence for Rodrigues' reckless driving and claims the officer's speed was double the limit.
"The evidence is clear and overwhelming," says Rick Freedman, Daimy Bueno's attorney. "Officer Rodrigues violated multiple Florida statutes, as well as several Miami Police Department policy guidelines, the result of which is that Ramon Bueno died."
The Miami Police Department did not respond to New Times' request for comment.
According to the lawsuit, the crash happened in the early-morning hours of June 17, 2017, as Bueno drove his Honda Civic west on SW Seventh Street through the intersection with SW 12th Street. The traffic light was a solid green. Rodrigues was driving his marked patrol car north on SW 12th Avenue.
Pre-crash data shows the cop was accelerating as he approached the red light. In the seconds before he hit Bueno, he was going 60 mph in a 30 mph zone. Rodrigues took his foot off the gas in the split second before he hit Bueno, but the data shows he was still speeding at 56 mph when he plowed into Bueno.
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"The impact speed proved catastrophic," the lawsuit says.
Despite the fact he was speeding and ran a red light, the officer wasn't charged with a crime. Freedman says the Broward State Attorney's Office handled the case because Daimy Bueno works for the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, and the governor's office determined that fact constituted a conflict. It's not clear whether Rodrigues faced any discipline within the department.
Bueno's death devastated his family. He had been married to his wife for 41 years, and the couple was enjoying spending their golden years together, Freedman says. This past Father's Day weekend was especially trying for the family.
"This has been the most difficult weekend and will be the most difficult weekend of their lives every year," Freedman says, "because the death is always going to occur on Father's Day weekend."