MIAMI (WSVN) - The family of a 17-year-old who was fatally hit by a Florida Highway Patrol officer while riding his bicycle is speaking out about their pain.
According to investigators, 17-year-old Angel Lopez was riding his bike across the street when FHP Trooper Aliek Sierra, who was heading westbound on Killian Parkway, stuck and killed him.
The victim’s father, Norberto Lopez, spoke alongside the family attorney and loved ones on Tuesday.
“He meant a lot, to not just the family, but to everybody,” Norberto said. “He was an amazing kid, amazing young man. He was more than just my son. He was my best friend.”
“I guess every parent wants their kid to be just like them,” Norberto said. “But from my experience with him, I wanted to be like him.”
A surveillance camera from a nearby restaurant captured Friday night’s crash along Killian Parkway and Southwest 108th Avenue around 9 p.m.
FHP troopers confirmed that Angel was thrown from his bicycle and died at the scene.
Norberto said he was in disbelief when he heard the news. “The state troopers were waiting home for me when I got home from work, late at night,” he said.
The family’s attorney said they are conducting their own investigation into what happened.
“We’re going to do our own on our end to make sure that every ‘i’ is dotted and every ‘t’ is crossed,” said family attorney Josiah Graham. “And we’re going to get to the bottom of everything that happened.”
Attorney Todd Falzone said in these kinds of cases, a lot of information often can come from the vehicle itself.
“There are recording devices in these vehicles that will give us information about speed, braking and things like that,” Falzone said. “There is also potentially some video, evidence that we might be able to gather from the vehicle as well.”
Meantime, the victim’s family is trying to remember the good times and the happiness Angel brought them. “He was always there for everybody,” Norberto said. “He was always there for everybody.”
7News has since reached out to FHP about their internal investigation. They said they would release their findings once they’re done investigating.
FHP also said the trooper involved in this crash has not been placed on leave, but is taking personal time off.
Tuesday night, FHP posted a statement on social media from Col. Gene Spaulding that reads, “The Florida Highway Patrol is absolutely heartbroken over the tragic loss of Angel Lopez. The Patrol understands the tremendous effect traffic crashes have and my prayers are with everyone impacted. I am committed to ensuring a thorough, transparent and complete investigation as quickly as possible.”
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