PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – For years, two grieving families have been asking officials for more safety measures to protect pedestrians at an intersection in Pembroke Pines. On Tuesday, they attended the “Abrahams-Torres Avenue” renaming ceremony.
About two months after celebrating her 15-birthday as a “Quinceañera,” Cassie Tianna Torres left her Pembroke Pines home to ride her bicycle to a nearby Starbucks. She never came back. A woman who was driving a silver Mercedes-Benz C230 ran her over on a Monday afternoon in 2018.
“It breaks me. I’ll never get over it,” Cassie’s mother, Natalia Torres, said feet away from where the impact split Cassie’s bicycle in two.
Torres said she wonders if her Cassie would still be with her today if there would have been a stop sign or a traffic light there since her princess was “not a reckless teenager.”
“She was just pure innocence,” the grieving mother said.
About seven years before Cassie died, there was already another family asking officials to address the dangers of Taft Street and Northwest 125th Avenue.
Cassie and Alexandra Thomas Abrahams were both good students at Charles W. Flanagan High School, a few blocks away from the deadly intersection. Both girls had clear plans and big dreams. They both loved to dance, and they both died at Memorial Regional Hospital.
Alexandra was 14 years old when a woman who was driving a blue Honda Odyssey struck her in 2011. The ninth-grade student was already set on becoming a University of Miami ‘Cane for life. One of Alexandra’s relatives said dealing with the aftermath of her death has been an “emotional rollercoaster.”
Pembroke Pines Commissioner Iris A. Siple, the former vice mayor, introduced the “Abrahams-Torres Avenue” renaming idea during a commission meeting in December 2019 after a request from the girls’ families, records show.
Commissioners Angelo Castillo, Thomas Good, and Jay D. Schwartz, now the vice mayor, agreed with Siple to pass the resolution to rename the city’s section of Northwest 125th Avenue. Frank C. Ortis, who has been the mayor of the city since 2004, signed the resolution on Jan. 15, 2020, ordering the city clerk to send copies to Broward County and the Florida Department of Transportation.
More than a year since the resolution was enacted, city officials said no one has been able to install a stop sign or a traffic light at the intersection because that is up to Broward County, and their only option is to persistently continue to make the request.
On Tuesday, Castillo delivered a speech at the much-anticipated renaming ceremony saying, “Today, we have the sad duty to commemorate lives that were cut short by recklessness.” Castillo and other officials clapped after unveiling a large commemorative sign.