SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A professional baseball player and his family were riding in the SUV that, police said, was hit by the driver of a stolen Miami-Dade Police cruiser in West Miami-Dade.
The Atlanta Braves confirmed one of the team’s new players, Miami native and infielder Sean John Rodriguez, his wife Giselle and their two young children were inside the black Chevy Suburban that was T-boned by the cruiser, near Southwest 99th Street and Coral Way, in West Miami-Dade, Saturday, at around 1:45 p.m.
Team officials said Rodriguez, 31, was behind the wheel of the SUV. He suffered minor injuries, which will not impact his playing for the start of spring season.
Giselle and the children, 8-year-old Sean Jr. and 2-year-old Ezekiel, were taken to area hospitals in serious but stable condition. On Sunday, Giselle was listed in fair condition at Kendall Regional Medical Center, and her children remain in serious but stable condition at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
Miami-Dade Police said the man inside the cruiser, who did not survive, had just stolen it from one of its officers, near Southwest 16th Street and 107th Avenue, when he lost control, sideswiped a Honda Civic going in the opposite direction and then struck the Suburban with the Rodriguez family inside. The cruiser then burst into flames.
Investigators said police had responded to a suspicious incident moments before the three-vehicle crash. “As the officers were conducting the investigation, an unknown subject had entered one of the police cars and had fled in an unknown direction,” said Miami-Dade Police Detective Dan Ferrin.
Sources told 7News the ordeal began inside a nearby Natural Chicken Grill restaurant. Surveillance video shows diners leaving behind a large black bag on a table. After concerned employees called police, an officer is seen examining the bag, and it was at that moment when, sources said, the cruiser was swiped.
Pablo, a good Samaritan who witnessed the collision, said he approached the Suburban to render aid to the family. “We opened the door. I took the first child out of the car, put her on the floor, ’cause I wanted to get everybody out,” he said.
Rodriguez went to Coral Park High School and played the last two years for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He signed with the Braves this off season in November.
The Braves released a statement that read, “We are aware that Braves player Sean Rodriguez and his family were involved in a very serious car accident Saturday night in Miami, Fla. At this time our thoughts and prayers are with the health and well-being of Sean’s family as they look to recover.”
Rodriguez is expected to start the season as a second baseman for the Braves.
Police have not yet identified the accused car thief.
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