Tragic: Crash Kills Hispanic Activist Outside Freedom Center After Awards Ceremony

Last Thursday, a gray Toyota Tundra was driving west on NE 6th Street next to the Freedom Tower when it slammed full-speed into a southbound, red Honda CRV on Biscayne Boulevard.

The truck spun out and skidded onto the sidewalk in front of the Freedom Center. Two women stood in its path. One grabbed the other and threw her out of the way before taking the full brunt of the truck's force. She died on the scene.

Today, police confirmed that the woman killed was a prominent Hispanic-American activist from Tampa Bay named Maria Esther Carillo. The other woman -- who suffered broken ribs, fractured facial bones and a collapsed lung -- was her daughter, Maria Liliano Carillo.

The pair had just left the Freedom Center after attending a ceremony honoring Maria Liliano Carillo for her work as a student volunteer and awarding her a scholarship to Columbia University.

You can read more about Maria Esther Carillo's work in Tampa Bay here. Her daughter is expected to recover from her injuries -- in part because of her mother's heroic effort to save her life, according to stories out of Tampa.

Police are still investigating the crash and trying to determine which driver ran a red light.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink

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