Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez spoke publicly for the first time about a deadly Oct. 19 crash that involved a Hialeah Police officer's cruiser. Susie Castillo, whose daughter Andrea died from her injuries in the accident, said an outside agency should investigate it.
Nearly two months after her daughter was killed in a car accident, Susie Castillo is still trying to get used to her new, lonelier life.
"It's hard enough to have to go through the holidays without her – and then not to know why she died like that, what happened that night," Castillo said.
Andrea Castillo was fatally injured on the day after her 21st birthday when the car she was riding in collided with a Hialeah Police officer's cruiser near 9th Court and East 49th Street in Hialeah. The officer was flown to the hospital, while Castillo and her boyfriend were taken by ambulance. Why Castillo wasn't airlifted is one of many questions her mother still wants answered.
"I haven't heard anything from Hialeah – nothing from the police department, from the mayor's office," Castillo said. "I haven't heard anything from anybody."
Now, a robo call about the investigation into the accident is being sent to Hialeah residents. The recording asks people to call upon the mayor and law enforcement to have an agency other than the Hialeah Police Department conduct the investigation.
Part of the recording says to "tell Mayor Hernandez to start behaving like mayor of Hialeah, not like a cop trying to protect one of their own."
In light of these calls, Mayor Carlos Hernandez spoke publicly about the deadly crash for the first time since the accident.
"My commitment is to make sure this thing moves forward as quickly as possible, so we can release all this information – especially for these families that want to know what the truth is," the mayor said.
Castillo believes that truth won't come with Hialeah Police investigating themselves.
"An agency isn't going to do a fair and impartial investigation on their own police department," explained Castillo, who is a Miami-Dade School Board member. "All I'm asking is that they please go outside. Hand it over to an outside agency whether, it's Miami-Dade County or FHP."
Hialeah Police declined to comment, except to say that the crash is still under investigation.
The grieving mother is keeping Andrea close – with her pictures, and even by wearing her jewelry.
"I am so overwhelmed with pain because my daughter was 21 years old," Susie Castillo cried. "She had just started her life and I am so overwhelmed with that pain."
She is working on creating a scholarship program called the Andrea Castillo Foundation. It would give money to students studying early childhood education, which is what Andrea was preparing to do before her death.