NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A man accused of driving into a group of 80 cyclists in Northwest Miami-Dade and hitting at least one person before he fled appeared in court.
Fifty-four-year-old Jean Rene stood before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Gerald D. Hubbart, Monday morning.
They listened to accounts from witnesses who were called into court.
We want the charges to reflect the clear and present danger that he presents to our community,” said a witness.
Surveillance video captured a black SUV driving into about a dozen cyclists on Sunday. As the vehicle drives past them, a cyclist is seen falling to the ground.
“Now we have children who have not been able to sleep, your honor, children who have been crying hysterically, children who are extremely traumatized,” said another witness.
A witness argued the crash was no accident.
“Mr. Rene maliciously and on purpose drove his car into an obvious group of people,” he said.
According to the arrest report, Rene was driving along Northwest 27th Avenue, near 106th Street, when he crashed into a car.
The report states the suspect took off, heading north, when he then struck the bicyclist.
“We were training children to ride bicycles, grade school children, junior high school children,” said a witness.
It was part of a summer program by the Break the Cycle bike group.
The video shows the SUV as it headed down a dead end road and turned around. About 30 seconds later, the vehicle approached the group of cyclists again, made a sharp right turn and sped down Northwest 27th Avenue.
Witnesses said, when another rider tried to follow Rene’s car to get his tag number, he tried to hit her as well.
“She had to jump off her bicycle. Her bicycle was dragged 10 streets by a man who did not care if she lived or died,” said a witness.
Paramedics airlifted the rider who was initially hit to an area hospital.
After Rene fled the scene, investigators said, Opa-Locka Police officers spotted him in a shopping plaza.
When they tried to approach him, police said, he tried to get away and then began fighting the officers.
Investigators said bystanders had to get involved to help get the suspect under control.
Police said Rene told them he didn’t see the bike group at first, and he didn’t realize the cyclist he had hit was badly hurt.
He faces multiple charges, including leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injury and battery on a law enforcement officer.
A spokesperson for Break the Cycle issued a statement that reads in part, “This act was and is reprehensible, and this individual must be held accountable for his reckless and intentional disregard for human life and safety. While we remain prayerful for the speedy recovery of our fellow cyclist, we ask that the community remain vigilant.”
The injured cyclist has since been released from the hospital and is recovering at home.
Rene is being held on $85,000 bond.
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