‘It’s a miracle’: Pastor wakes up after coma to treat head injury from hit-and-run crash

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A video shows the Mercedes-Benz that a former porn star was driving when she arrived at the Continuum in South Beach, police said. She confessed to running over a pastor and leaving him on the street to die, police said.

A man who was working as a valet attendant at the Continuum recorded the video on March 25. The valet attendant told police officers Katherine Colabella appeared drunk when she dropped off the car, police said.

Katherine Colabella faces two felony charges in Miami-Dade County after admitting to her involvement in a hit-and-run crash. (Miami-Dade County Corrections and Rehabilitation)

The video shows the shattered windshield of the Mercedes-Benz. Officers towed it. Colabella, 31, woke up the next day and contacted the Miami Beach Police Department to find out why the car had been towed.

Jany Martinez Ward, the victim’s attorney, said Colabella shouldn’t have left Rev. Noé Aguilar on the street.

“It is a miracle that he is alive and that he is able to recognize his family,” Martinez Ward said.

Rev. Noé Aguilar, a married father of two, was the victim of a hit-and-run crash on March 25 in Miami-Dade County. (Courtesy of the Aguilar family)

Aguilar, a father of two, was riding a bicycle on the MacArthur Causeway. The co-pastor at the Pentecostal Church of God in Miami Beach was on his way home after working a shift as a waiter. Fire Rescue personnel took him to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center.

When he didn’t arrive home as expected and he didn’t answer his phone, his family knew something was wrong. They started to make phone calls. A pastor called Aguilar’s cell phone and an officer answered it with the tragic news.

Aguilar suffered a head injury. He underwent surgery. Doctors placed him in a medically-induced coma.

Rev. Noé Aguilar's family talks about the pain of knowing that he is fighting for his life at Jackson Memorial Hospital. (Copyright 2020 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.)

Aguilar’s wife, teenage son, and 10-year-old daughter breathed a sigh of relief when their dad woke up after more than a week in a coma.

As it’s often the case with head injuries, Aguilar doesn’t remember much about the hit-and-run crash. He remained at the intensive care unit on Monday, and he is able to communicate with his children over the phone.

“He gets very tired. He cannot talk more than a minute long. He is still connected to multiple things, and cables, so he has lost a lot of memory right now,” Martinez Ward said.

Aguilar used to work three jobs to provide for his family. The bills are piling up. Pubbelly Sushi donated $5,000 to the family’s GoFundMe page, which still hasn’t met its goal of $500,000.

Colabella is facing two felony charges of reckless driving with serious bodily injury and leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injury. Records show she was released on March 26 on a $12,500 bond and she is scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment hearing on April 26.

UPDATE: In a previous version of this story, attorney Greg Ward, who represents the victim, said he had been in touch with Colabella’s ex-husband to gather information about her. Ward later told Local 10 News that he learned the person the attorneys spoke with was the ex-husband of Colabella’s friend. Ward’s quote has been removed from this story.

Related story: Family wants justice for pastor in coma after hit-and-run on MacArthur Causeway

About the Authors:

Andrew Perez is a South Florida native who joined the Local 10 News team in May 2014.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.