The trial of a former Miami Beach police officer charged with four felonies stemming from a 2011 beach crash in which the all-terrain vehicle he was driving struck and seriously injured two people got underway Monday.
The trial Monday as prosecutors and defense attorneys previewed evidence in the case of Derek Kuilan. Prosecutors said the accident happened when Kuilan was joy-riding with a woman on the ATV after drinking while on duty at a South Beach nightclub bachelorette party.
According to documents released by State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, a night of hard partying on South Beach by a group of Pennsylvania women celebrating a bachelorette party turned into a harrowing night shortly after they ran into two cops at the Clevelander Hotel.
After striking up a conversation with Kuilan, Adalee Martin agreed to take a ride along the beach on his ATV.
A man and a woman walking on the beach to see the sunrise were injured. Hours after the accident police would take a blood sample from Kuilan that showed a blood alcohol level of .088, authorities said. Kuilan and the other officer involved, Rolando Gutierrez, were eventually fired from the Miami Beach Police Department.
Martin was one of the first witnesseses called Monday and said she did not see Kulian drink alcohol before the accident.
"I thought it would be fun," Martin told jurors Monday. "He was a police officer and I felt safe."
Kuilan is charged with two counts of driving under the influence with serious bodily injury and two counts of reckless driving with bodily injury.
Kuilan's attorney has said the blood test was taken against his client's will, and disputes that Kuilan was driving recklessly.
Officer Kerry Humphrey, who investigated the accident, said Kulian "was going at a fast speed in order to flip the ATV."
Each charge carries a potential five-year prison sentence.