FDOT Officer Killed in Crash Heading to Road Safety Event

The Florida Department of Transportation is mourning the loss of one of its workers.

A Public Information Officer for FDOT was killed in a crash last Thursday while heading to a road safety event. Many are blaming the crash on an accident-prone intersection.

It happened on Southwest 8th Street and 157th Avenue. Three vehicles were involved and two of them rolled.

A memory sign now bares the name of one of the drivers killed in the crash: Maribel Lena. She was a 30-year veteran of FDOT, and was on her way to a news conference promoting safety changes to I-95.

"Sitting down waiting to start and she wouldn't show up. Everyone was worried. I've known her for many years and she's very reliable," said Joe Sanchez with the Florida Highway Patrol.

Sanchez described Lena as nothing less than elegant, "There's a saying that God takes the most beautiful flowers for his garden. She was a beautiful person."

Lena's accident is the latest in a spike of Tamiami Trail entanglements.

According to the Department of Highway Safety, there were no accidents on Southwest 8th in the area of 157th in 2011, 2012 and 2013. But in 2014, there were 18.

It's no surprise to the neighborhood, where many residents describe it as a racetrack, where drivers treat the speed limit as a mere suggestion.

One tragedy has happened, leaving behind the fear that more are ahead.

No arrests have been made in the crash, but the investigation is ongoing. It appears charges are likely.

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