FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A Broward Sheriff's Office deputy who died as a result of injuries he sustained when his cruiser veered off Interstate 95 and hit a tree on Sept. 11 was laid to rest Friday.
Deputy Daniel Rivera was headed to the Pompano Beach substation when he crashed his patrol car into a palm tree south of Copans Road. He had been in critical condition at Broward Health North Hospital, where he died Saturday night.
The funeral was held at Calvary Church of Fort Lauderdale.
"My dad was the best dad ever," said Damian Barrio. "He was fun. He would take me everywhere and we would have an amazing time, but when we got home, just back for dinner, he was strict, aka the drill sergeant."
Rivera spent more than a decade with BSO. Sheriff Scott Israel described him as ambitious and dedicated.
"Everything Danny did, he did with honor, he did with courage, and he did with a smile on his face," said Israel.
Rivera's girlfriend, Andrea Mendez, recalled how the two met online, then fell in love.
"He was a protector who would sit at a restaurant facing the doorway to be able to see everyone that would come through, and he was a born leader and fighter who was perfect in my eyes but always strived to be better for himself and his son," she said.
Rivera was buried at Our Lady Queen of Heaven cemetery.
"He was not only my dad, he was like a best friend to me," said Barrio. "I love him so much, I miss him so much, but, like I said, he's in a better place right now."
Barrio said he'd follow in his father's footsteps and become a law enforcement officer.
Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to call the Broward Sheriff's Office Traffic Homicide unit at 654-321-4840.