Woman Charged With DUI in Gruesome Rickenbacker Causeway Crash

The crash blocked traffic to and from Key Biscayne for several hours.

A woman is facing charges in connection with a gruesome car crash that left a mother of two dead and shut down access on and off the island of Key Biscayne for about eight hours Saturday.

Jessica Fuentes was leaving work around 8 p.m. via Rickenbacker Causeway on Saturday night when she rear-ended the car in front of her, prosecutors said.

Fuentes' car catapulted across the median and slammed into its chain link fence; one of the fence posts pierced through the passenger side of the other car and impaled the driver, Paula Curra Rafetti.

Rafetti's car flipped over several times after impact, according to prosecutors. She was airlifted to Ryder's Trauma Center in extremely critical condition and went into surgery but died on the operating table, according to the arrest report.

Her husband, Diego Rafetti, had been in the passenger seat. He was treated and released, and is now grieving his wife's loss with his two children, Diego and Delfina, the latter a senior at MAST, according to Islander News.

In court, an emotional exchange took place between prosecutors and the defendant's mother.

"The other person unfortunately was not wearing their seat belt and it’s why she succumbed to her injuries," Fuentes's mother said. "It was a freak accident."

"She was [wearing her seat belt] and trying to cast any blame on her is just not appropriate,” a prosecutor repudiated.

The prosecutor also pointed out that Fuentes, 23, had twice the legal limit of alcohol in her system at the time of the crash.

Fuentes is facing charges including DUI manslaughter and DUI causing serious bodily injury. She was given a $75,000 bond with house arrest and a no drive order.

Islander News also reported that access on and off the island was blocked for about eight hours after the crash while officials conducted their investigation. Close to a thousand people were trapped in their vehicles, many of them with children, until around 4 a.m. when access was finally granted.

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