Attorney for family of FIU student killed by car in 2017 believes bridge project may have been rushed

WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - The family of a Florida International University student who was killed last year while walking across the street where the pedestrian bridge collapsed on Thursday is now determined to keep others safe.

Eighteen-year-old Alexis Dale moved to South Florida from California in 2017 to study information technology at FIU.

While walking across Southwest Eighth Street back in August, Dale was hit and killed by a motorist.

“Starting out her life. Starting out her college life. And just crossing the street, a very busy street. Had no other means to get across,” said Alan Goldfarb, the family’s attorney.

Students make the dangerous walk across the eight lanes of traffic to get to campus.

FIU wanted to prevent accidents like what happened to Dale from happening again, and that’s why the school and the City of Sweetwater built the new pedestrian bridge.

Dale’s family in California said they were stunned after seeing the images of the collapsed bridge.

“The family is in a great deal of pain,” Goldfarb said. “They feel very badly, and understand all of these losses.”

For months, he has reviewed thousands of documents related to the bridge project. “There was definitely a delay. We have evidence of delay. There is no doubt about that,” Goldfarb said.

After Dale was killed, Goldfarb even visited the bridge construction site himself and documented the progress with pictures.

“What struck me is, it wasn’t as far advanced as I thought it should have been by September of 2017,” Goldfarb said. “A month after our tragedy.”

Goldfarb said the project was behind schedule, and he believes it’s possible they sped it up after Dale’s death.

Just one day after she was killed, the City of Sweetwater released a statement saying: “This project has been well underway and is expected to be completed by late 2018. All efforts have and will be made to ensure that this project is completed as expeditiously as possible.”

“Are we rushing all these projects? Are they getting behind on these projects? Are there defective products they are using?” Goldfarb said. “Why are they doing this, leading to innocent deaths and tragedy to people? Why?”

The bridge that was supposed to stop what happened to Dale from happening to another student instead became a death trap.

“Now no bridge, big delays, big delays to cleanup, to redesign,” Goldfarb said. “They are years away.”

Goldfarb said the family plans to sue FIU.

7News reached out to FIU for comment. They said in a statement that they proceeded in accordance with state statutes and Department of Transportation regulations when it comes to the bridge construction project.

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