Man confined to wheelchair becomes Miami Police chief for a day

MIAMI (WSVN) - A South Florida man, whose life was drastically changed in an accident, was honored as chief for a day at the Miami Police Department.

Twenty-three-year-old Bryan Criales had dreams of becoming a police officer, but he was happy to become a police chief for a day, Monday.

Criales suffered a traumatic brain injury from a wrong-way crash on Interstate 95 in December of 2015, not far from the police department.

“He’s a survivor,” said Noel Criales, the victim’s father.

His sister Carmen was killed and his mother, who has since recovered, was critically injured.

The Florida Highway Patrol said Franklin Chavez was driving south in the northbound lanes of I-95 when he plowed into the Criales family head on. His headlights were turned off.

Chavez now faces serious charges, including vehicular homicide.

They’ll all be in court in June.

“As a father myself, it’s heartbreaking to see what this father is going through, and just a little bit we could do today by bringing Bryan to the police department to bring a smile to his face, to see his reaction, was just an honor,” said Miami Police Assistant Chief Ronald Papier.

Criales received a warm welcome at the headquarters, a bit of a show and VIP access.

He even got settled for a spot behind the chief’s desk.

Bryan posted on social media all the steps he took to protect and serve when he was working toward becoming an officer.

“It’s very touching. There are so many people out there who want to do good and serve the community, and Bryan is a perfect example,” Papier said.

While he is confined to a wheelchair, Bryan goes through therapy for five days a week. He is a fighter with a dream.

“What I know is nothing is impossible,” the victim’s father said. “There’s always a second chance.”

Bryan requires around the clock care and therapy can be costly. His family has set up a GoFundMe page for anyone willing to help pay for medical bills. If you would like to make a donation, click here.

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