Family of teen struck, killed by FHP cruiser hires law firm in search of answers

Angel Lopez, 17, struck by veteran trooper's car while trying to cross parkway

By Erica Rakow - Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Family members of a 17-year-old boy who was fatally struck by a Florida Highway Patrol trooper's cruiser have hired a law firm to conduct an independent investigation into what happened.

The family of Angel Lopez was joined by attorneys from Kelley/Uustal during a news conference Tuesday.

Lopez, a student at Miami Killian Senior High School, was trying to cross Killian Parkway on his bicycle Friday night when he was struck by a state trooper's marked patrol car. 

Surveillance video shows the moment Lopez was fatally struck by the nine-year FHP veteran.

Lopez was a cadet in the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps and wanted to serve in the military like his father.

His father, grandmother and cousins said it was premature to say whether they will file a lawsuit against the FHP, but their attorneys will conduct an independent investigation and gather evidence to determine whether anyone was at fault.

"These are serious matters and, you know, we don't undertake lawsuits without knowing what happened and why," attorney Todd Falzone said.

Falzone said the family just "wants to understand why this terrible tragedy took place."

The trooper involved in the crash was not responding to a call and remains on duty, although FHP officials said he is taking some personal time off. 

The FHP didn't have a statement Tuesday regarding the hiring of an attorney by Lopez's family, except to say that the crash remains under investigation. 

Lopez's friends are planning a vigil for him Thursday night near his school.

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