Man Injured in Accident With Hialeah Police Officer Wants Answers

Marco Barrios was seriously injured and his girlfriend, Andrea Castillo, was killed.

By Karen Franklin and Steve Litz
|  Friday, Nov 23, 2012  |  Updated 6:32 PM EDT
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The attorney for a man seriously injured in a car crash with a Hialeah Police officer is asking the agency to release more information about the incident. NBC 6 South Florida spoke with Marco Barrios and his attorney John Leighton about a complaint they filed to acquire information about the crash.

The attorney for a man seriously injured in a car crash with a Hialeah Police officer is asking the agency to release more information about the incident. NBC 6 South Florida spoke with Marco Barrios and his attorney John Leighton about a complaint they filed to acquire information about the crash.

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The attorney for a man seriously injured in a car crash with a Hialeah Police officer is asking the agency to release more information about the incident.

"We filed something this week, an unusual remedy that we're seeking from the City of Hialeah and some other people, to try and get a court order to allow us to have an inspection of the vehicles, to get the black box downloads from the two vehicles in question, get other data that the city has refused to turn over to the victims, to try and get some of the surveillance video, and also to try and preserve the blood samples that may have been taken from the police officer," said Attorney John Leighton.

Leighton is representing Marco Barrios, who said he fractured his pelvis in the Oct. accident. His girlfriend Andrea Castillo was killed.

Barrios and Castillo were heading north on 9th Court in an SUV when they collided with an unmarked police car being driven by on-duty Hialeah Police officer Raul Somarriba who was traveling east on E. 49th Street Friday night, according to police.

Somarriba is still recovering.

But Leighton and Barrios want information from police that they say they haven't been provided with.

"It tells us that they have a reason to hide, that they're hiding something, they're trying to protect their own," Leighton said.

Barrios said he and his girlfriend were going to celebrate her 21st birthday and were leaving a gas station when the accident occurred. He said not only is Hialeah Police handling the case slowly, they are trying to cover up too.

"It seems like they're not telling the truth, that they're hiding evidence," he said.

The officer in the accident was airlifted to the hospital while Castillo was taken by ambulance.

"How do they explain taking the police officer by helicopter to Ryder Trauma Center while Andrea and Marco laid on the side of the road after they had been run over by the police officer?" Leighton asked.

But while Hialeah Fire Capt. Cesar Espinosa previously told NBC 6 South Florida that every patient on the scene was treated appropriately, Leighton continues to disagree.

"Well police have occupied a special public trust," he said. "We give them the right to use a gun, carry a badge, they have a right to do things to protect people. But that right can be abused and nobody, no police department, is above the law."

Hialeah Police spokesman Carl Zogby has told NBC 6 that speed was not a factor in the accident, but that Barrios and his girlfriend failed to stop at a stop sign.

But in a wheelchair, maybe for another three months, Barrios told NBC 6 South Florida that police are wrong.

"I remember pulling out of the gas station, stopping, I remember clearly stopping at the stop sign, and then next thing I know I just remember waking up outside of the vehicle and my car is turned upside down. And I never saw Andy, my girlfriend, again until the hospital a couple days later," he said.

Leighton and Barrios said experts calculated that the officer was traveling between 75 and 100 mph on a road when the two vehicles collided.

"They said that speed wasn't a factor, but I think anybody with common sense can tell you that a vehicle doesn't flip three times going slow. Speed obviously was a factor," Barrios said.

He still experiences a constant throbbing pain.

"To deal with it mentally is just exhausting because all I can think about is my girlfriend because that's all I really care about," he said.

In addition to the complaint, Leighton would also like the case to be turned over to another agency, a request he says Hialeah Police have previously turned down.

"People make mistakes, own up to the mistake," he said. "City of Hialeah, if you made a mistake, if your employee made a mistake, own up to it. Provide these victims, these families with what they need and admit that you made a mistake."

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