HIALEAH, Fla. – The family of a 21-year-old woman who died after a crash with a Hialeah police officer believes she may have survived if she had been taken to the hospital by air rescue like the officer was.
Andrea Castillo, the daughter of newly elected Miami-Dade School Board member Susie Castillo, was killed in a collision with the undercover officer at E. 9th Court and 49th Street on Friday night.
According to Hialeah Police, Mario Barrios, Castillo's boyfriend, ran a stop sign into the path of the unmarked police car. The SUV the pair was riding in flipped several times after it was hit. Police said Barrios and Castillo weren't wearing seatbelts.
But Castillo's family said they were less concerned with how the crash happened, and more upset with what happened afterwards.
"How is it that this young girl who was hanging on to dear life was not airlifted?" said Jorge Silva, an attorney for the Castillo family.
At the scene, Hialeah paramedics called Miami-Dade's Air Rescue. The police officer was transported by Air Rescue to Jackson Memorial Hospital. Castillo, who had severe head trauma, and Barrios were transported by ambulance.
"Air rescue transported the police officer because he met the highest degree of severity in injuries at the time. They were triaged," said Hialeah Fire Rescue Capt. Cesar Espinosa.
"People who are involved in multiple rollovers, people that are unconscious and are hanging onto life by a thread, those are the people you want to airlift before anybody else," said Silva.
Police said the officer spent 10 hours in surgery after suffering several broken bones. Castillo died Sunday of severe head trauma.
"It only stands to reason that there was some preferential treatment," said Silva.
"All patients arrived at the trauma center within 30 minutes of the incident," said Espinosa.
According to Google Maps, Ryder Trauma Center is 10 miles from where the crash happened.
Because the crash happened in Hialeah, Hialeah Fire Rescue paramedics assessed the situation and determined who was transported by air rescue.
"Unquestionably, Andrea Castillo should have been on the chopper and there will not be any dispute from anyone other than perhaps the Hialeah Police Department and/or Fire Rescue," said Silva.
Silva is doing his own independent investigation into the crash.
The Hialeah police officer involved in the crash was on duty. He was not on his way to call, did not have lights and sirens on, and Hialeah Police do not believe speed was a factor in the crash.
Barrios and the Hialeah Police officer remain hospitalized.