On Tuesday, January 2, Miami Design and Architecture Senior High (DASH) teacher Orestes Amador Jr. turned his black Volkswagen Passat left on Hialeah Drive just after 7 p.m. Seconds later, a police cruiser plowed into him at the intersection of East Fifth Avenue. The crash was so violent the police car flew into a neighboring ice-cream shop, and witnesses said the boom shook the entire block.
"I was really scared," the shop owner told Local 10 News last month. "It actually sounded like a bomb."
Though the officers survived, the crash killed the 51-year-old Amador. His relatives are still waiting to learn what happened that night, and now in new court filings, they say Hialeah Police seem to be ignoring their pleas for more information.
Representatives from Amador's insurance company and his estate have asked Hialeah PD multiple times to see or inspect the police vehicle that hit Amador, but they say the department has ignored their requests for help. They've also asked for the computer software in the police car that recorded how fast the cruiser was traveling (and some other relevant information) at the time of the crash, but the family and insurance company say HPD isn't answering requests to let them access that data either.
"To date, no one on behalf of the City of Hialeah and/or its Police Department has returned one call," the lawsuit reads. The family is asking a court to force the department to turn over the relevant information and let the family inspect the damaged cruiser.
The new legal complaint complicates an already odd case. CBS Miami reported last month that Hialeah Police refused to tell the media what the officers were doing when they hit Amador, where they were going, or who was at fault. Authorities also have not released Amador's official cause of death.
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Written letters attached to the new legal complaint show that Amador's estate has been trying to get in touch with Hialeah PD since the crash. In a February 2 letter to Progressive Insurance, the family's lawyer wrote that "the City of Hialeah, given the circumstances of the fatality, has frozen out all efforts for us to have access to the vehicles involved."
In fact, the legal complaint says a data analyst is "standing by, ready, willing, and able" to download the car's crash data but has been hamstrung by the city's noncompliance. A Hialeah Police spokesperson did not immediately respond to a message from New Times about the lawsuit.
Amador had been a beloved teacher at DASH. Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho tweeted his condolences after the accident.
"Painful way to start the year receiving news that one of our esteemed teachers lost his life in a terrible car accident," Carvalho wrote. "Prayers for those who loved him, including his @DASHphantoms family."