NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A man and a toddler were killed and a woman was hospitalized after, officials said, they were involved in a fiery car accident in a Northwest Miami-Dade neighborhood, Thursday afternoon.
Miami-Dade Police and Fire Rescue responded to the scene along the 2900 block of Northwest North River Drive, just before 3:30 p.m. City of Miami Police and Fire Rescue also responded due to the close proximity to Miami’s Allapattah neighborhood.
Officials said a Mercedes-Benz and a Honda Civic were heading eastbound on Northwest North River Driver at a high rate of speed when one of the drivers somehow lost control and collided with the other car. The vehicles then ended up in a fenced area of what looked to be a junkyard.
“The impact was so great that both vehicles catch fire,” said Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta.
Investigators believe the drivers may have been racing each other at the time of the accident.
A witness who asked not to be identified or show her face on camera said she was working at the auto shop located across the street when she heard an explosion, ran outside and saw the burning cars. She then called 911.
Police said the victims in the Mercedes — a man in his 30s, a woman in her 20s and a female toddler in a car seat — were trapped inside the burning wreckage. The man in his 50s who was driving the Civic was able to exit his vehicle.
“After he realized that everybody was there burning, he went back and stayed there like 10 minutes, and after 10 minutes he came back with nobody,” said the witness who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Zabaleta noted the tragic crash took place just as Thanksgiving get-togethers were getting underway. “Right about this time, families are getting together, being thankful for what they have,” he said.
Cellphone video captured thick black smoke billowing into the sky above the wreck. 7News cameras later captured the charred vehicles and skid marks on the street.
“The scene was pretty chaotic, and the fire was very intense,” said Miami-Dade Fire Battalion Chief Danny Cardeso.
Once crews extinguished the flames, they found the man in his 30s and the toddler dead inside the Mercedes. The woman in her 20s was pulled out by firefighters and transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where she is listed in critical but stable condition.
Investigators said paramedics treated the man in his 50s for burns to his hands. He was not transported to the hospital.
At around 10 p.m., the scene remained active, and a tow truck arrived to take away the cars.
Zabaleta advised drivers to observe caution during the holiday weekend. “Be careful. Let’s be responsible out there,” he said. “Speed kills, and yet here we have two vehicles that … cause a crash and take the life of a little one that had nothing to do with it, had no control over that vehicle.”
No charges have been filed as police continue to investigate.
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