Woman who crashed into vehicles, Miami Beach police officer appeared drunk, witnesses say

Cariann Hithon, 22, fatally shot Sunday by police

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A 22-year-old woman who crashed into three vehicles and a Miami Beach police officer Sunday before being fatally shot appeared to be drunk, witnesses can be heard telling police in a video obtained by Local 10 News.

Police said Cariann Hithon, 22, got into her black BMW Sunday night that was parked in the 1400 block of Ocean Drive and sped south, passing cars in the oncoming lane and striking two vehicles at the intersection of 12th Street and Ocean Drive.

Police said Hithon continued heading west on 12th Street, ran a red light at Collins Avenue and struck a third vehicle just after 6:15 p.m. 

Police said witnesses and officers began to gather at the intersection to try to help the victims, and the woman drove into the crowd, hitting Officer David Cajuso with her car. 

Video shows another officer open fire at the driver, who crashed a final time down the street.

Police performed CPR on Hithon, but she died at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

A man who was riding in the vehicle with her, Ryan Lucas, 22, was not injured. 

"Obviously (I'm feeling) a lot of pain and grief. You know, there's no words describe when you lose a child," Hithon’s father, Cary Hithon, told Local 10 News. 

Cary Hithon said his daughter is a Temple University student from Maryland, and that she was in Miami Beach celebrating her 22nd birthday.

He said she was majoring in political science and had a bright future.

He can't understand how this happened.

"I can't be too quick to judge," Cary Hithon said. "Something may have happened to my daughter in the moment that caused her to act nothing like anything I can recall or understand."

Cajuso has been with the police department since 2015. He was taken to a hospital and was released early Monday.

The officer who fatally shot Cariann Hithon has not been identified and is on administrative leave pending an investigation, as is standard protocol in a police-involved shooting.

The Miami-Dade Police Department is investigating the shooting and Miami Beach police are investigating the crashes.

About the Authors:

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for Local10.com.