78ºF

Driver lost control of vehicle before crashing into Miami police motorman, FHP report says

Officer killed, 8 injured in crash

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A 26-year-old man lost control of his car Tuesday afternoon before he crashed into the back of a Miami police officer's motorcycle, killing the officer, a Florida Highway Patrol report released Wednesday said.

The fatal crash on Southwest Eighth Street at 137th Avenue left eight others injured, one of whom suffered serious injuries. Authorities said Officer Jorge Sanchez, 53, was pronounced dead at Kendall Regional Medical Center.

According to the report, Ronald Nicholas Pla was driving east on Eighth Street in his 2013 Infiniti G37 when he lost control of his car and crashed into the back of Sanchez's motorcycle.

Sanchez, who was stopped at a red light in the center eastbound lane, was thrown off his motorcycle onto the roadway.

Troopers said Pla's car traveled across the intersection into westbound traffic and struck two more vehicles, causing a chain-reaction crash.

Ten vehicles were involved in the crash, one of which was overturned on its side.

Troopers said seven people suffered minor injuries, including Pla. Elma Lucia Alvarez, 48, who was driving a 2016 Lexus RX350, was taken to Kendall Regional in serious condition.

Flags outside the Miami police station are flying at half staff in Sanchez's honor.

A photo taken just before the roadway reopened Tuesday night shows a group of law enforcement officers from multiple agencies huddled together in prayer.

Meanwhile, reaction from South Florida law enforcement agencies has been pouring in.

"Extremely saddened by this loss. Our hearts are with you @MiamiPD," the Miami Beach Police Department tweeted.

"Our thoughts and prayers goes out to the family of City of Miami Officer Jorge Sanchez and the MiamiPD. We Stand With You. #RestInPeace," the North Miami Beach Police Department posted on Twitter.

FHP traffic homicide detectives are investigating the crash.

Authorities said it's unclear what caused Pla to lose control of his car or whether alcohol was involved.

Sanchez is survived by his mother Maria, his ex-wife, his fiancée, Evelyn, his daughter, Elizabeth, his son, Jorge, and his son, Eric, who is also a Miami police officer.

The 21-year police veteran was close to retirement, authorities said. 

A viewing will be held for the officer on at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Vior Funeral Home at 291 NW 37th Ave. His funeral service will be held at 9 a.m. Friday at the Miami-Dade Auditorium at 2901 W. Flagler St. He will be buried after the funeral at Woodlawn Cemetery North.