18-year-old woman killed in New Year's Day crash in Key Biscayne

Police say speeding Porsche hit trees, front gate of home

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. - An 18-year-old woman was killed in a crash Friday morning involving a single car in Key Biscayne.

Key Biscayne police Chief Charles Press said dispatchers received a call at about 7 a.m. about a Porsche convertible that had struck multiple trees on Harbor Drive before crashing into the front gate of a home.

"I heard a car speeding so fast it sounded like a race track, and then I heard bang, bang, bang crash," Judy Reinach, who lives in the area, said.

Two teens inside the car, Isaias Medina, 17, and Mathew Saldana, 17, were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center in stable condition.

Daniela Benavides, who was sitting in the back seat, was pronounced dead at the scene.

"Obviously, this is a horrific tragedy on New Year's Day (and) something that we all worry about as parents and as police officers and scares us to death," Press said. "We do everything we can to educate our kids and to talk to them about the dangers of getting in these cars and not taking transportation home, but it's Miami. It's young people and they make decisions sometimes that, unfortunately here, left a family facing a lifetime of tragedy."

Because of the amount of damage at the crash site, Press said it is obvious that speed played a role in the crash. He said further investigation will determine whether drugs or alcohol were a factor.

Authorities said Medina was behind the wheel of the 2008 silver Porsche.

"The saddest part is this family will be devastated forever," Press said. "Speed kills. It is very simple, it always has and it always will. You are not safe with seat belts at times, without seat belts anytime -- when you put speed and you have fixed objects, such as trees and light poles and things of that nature."

Press did not disclose the relationship between the teenagers, but said all were residents of Key Biscayne.

Benavides' father told Local 10 News reporter Christina Vazquez that his daughter had graduated from Gulliver Preparatory and had been attending Pepperdine University in California for the past six months.

A friend of Benavides said he also attends Pepperdine University and they were both home for the holidays.

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