Heat Dancer Struck and Killed In Motorcycle Crash
Nancy Lopez-Ruiz was set to begin her first season with the Heat Dancers
David Alvarez, Miami Heat
A Plantation woman set to begin her first season with the Miami Heat Dancers is dead after being struck by a car Friday night while riding her motorcycle in Fort Lauderdale
, 22, was driving her Suzuki GSXR westbound on East Sunrise Boulevard when a 2009 Mercedes traveling behind her drove onto the median at the North Federal Highway split.
The driver, Fort Lauderdale resident Mario Careaga
, then steered back into the far right lane and collided with Lopez-Ruiz's motorcycle.
She was thrown from the bike, and pronounced dead on scene.
A police spokesperson said a drunk driving investigation of Careaga has begun, though it could take months to conclude. His age is unknown.
, the Heat's president of business operations, said the organization was "shocked and saddened" to learn of her passing.
"Nancy was a lovely young woman with an upbeat personality," he said in a statement. "Her fierce passion for dancing was contagious. We wish to extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends and teammates."
Lopez-Ruiz was no stranger to performing; the Nicaraguan native was captain of the dance squad at her alma mater, Bradenton
's Bayshore High School. She was selected to the Heat's dance team at tryouts in late July.
Authorities are asking anyone who witnessed or has information concerning the incident to call Traffic Homicide Investigator Jonathan Graham at 954-828-5125 or Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.