Family identifies blind woman fatally struck by dump truck in Miami-Dade County

Victim identified as Ruby Maria Rios Castaneda

By Ian Margol - Reporter, Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - Relatives identified a blind woman who was fatally struck by a dump truck Monday morning in Miami-Dade County as Ruby Maria Rios Castaneda.

The incident was reported in the area of Southwest 67th Avenue near Tamiami Trail.

Police said Rios Castaneda was walking west across the street when the truck turned south and struck her. 

Authorities said the driver of the dump truck remained at the scene and is cooperating with the investigation.

Friends described the victim as someone who conquered her blindness and was trying to help others do the same.

"(She was) always happy, smiling -- she loved to dance," Nelba Gonzalez said. 

Gonzalez said she met Rios Castaneda through the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, where she teaches arts and crafts.

She said Rios Castaneda was a special artist, who had a real gift.

"She used to design her own dresses," Gonzalez said. "She used to paint, do ceramics. She was good with everything hands on."

Virginia Jacko, president and CEO of Miami Lighthouse said Rios Castaneda is the second member of their community since December to be killed by a vehicle.

“She was part of our family. We lost a family member,” Jacko said. 

Rios Castaneda worked as a retail sales associate at the Perez Art Museum Miami. He co-workers were heartbroken by her death.

“Her strength and optimism were endless; she was loved by all whom knew her. Her passion for life and creativity was admired by all," said Michael Balbone, PAMM Shop Director.

Jacko said she hopes Rios Castaneda's death will spark a change for drivers everywhere to be more aware while they're on the roads.

"It is our civil right to safely cross intersections," Jacko said. "When drivers do not stop when they see a blind person with a guide dog or a cane, they should not have even passed their driving test and there should be a citation."

Police said the dump truck involved in the crash is owned by a private company, and a sign on the side of one of the truck's doors read "Raul Ruiz."

It's unclear whether the driver will face charges.

A GoFundMe page has been created to help Rios Castaneda's family pay for her funeral expenses.


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