FIU bridge collapse survivor files lawsuit while crews work to open 8th Street

WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A woman who was nearly crushed when the pedestrian bridge under construction in front of Florida International University collapsed is now filing a lawsuit.

The back half of Katrina Collazo de Armas’s Nissan Rogue was crushed by the bridge, missing the driver’s seat by just inches. However, de Armas suffered back and neck injuries, and she said she is traumatized to the point that when she leaves the house, she fears something like this will happen again.

Now, de Armas is filing a lawsuit, naming four companies involved in it’s design and construction. The companies named are the FIGG Engineering Group, Munilla Construction Management, Bolton Perez & Associates and Louis Berger Engineering.

The lawsuit asks for compensation, but de Armas and her attorney said, more importantly, they want answers.

“I need an answer, I want an answer, and I think we deserve — all of us as victims — we deserve to know what happened, why this happened,” de Armas said.

The wife and mother of a 3-year-old girl said she is grateful her daughter wasn’t in the backseat at the time of the collapse. Instead, she was at school.

“Thank God she wasn’t there,” de Armas said.

“We believe that there’s sufficient evidence already that suggests that this bridge should have never been allowed to be in operational capacity with traffic underneath it,” said de Armas’ attorney Spencer Aronfeld. “There were cracks that were detected, and the traffic should have been stopped until such time that the bridge was made to be safe.”

“We believe, in this case as in other cases, profit was put ahead of the safety of people,” Aronfeld added.

Louis Berger Engineering released a statement in response to the lawsuit which read, “Louis Berger was not involved in the construction phase of the Florida International University pedestrian bridge. At this point we are concerned about those who have been the victims of this tragedy and support a vigorous investigation as to the cause as soon as possible.”

While the legal matters begin, officials are nearly done with clearing Southwest Eighth Street, and they believe it will be open either late Saturday or early Sunday.

Six people were killed when the bridge collapsed onto Southwest Eighth Street on March 15.

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