Off-duty Miami police officer killed in crash

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Police said speed played a factor in an early morning crash that killed a City of Miami police officer and sent his car into a home.

Investigators worked into the early morning hours Sunday in front of the residence along the S.W. 3400 block of S.W. 87th Avenue, trying to determine what happened.

Rene Banegas, 27, was going south on S.W. 87th Avenue in a 2001 Volkswagen Jetta when he lost control, struck a tree and crashed into the home, according to a police report.

Hours later, devastated friends and family arrived to the accident to see for themselves.

“He was a good boy, a recent police graduate,” said Carlos Banegas, his father, who spoke to CBS4 in Spanish.

Banegas and his fiancé were planning their wedding.

“It is an irreparable loss,” the grieving father added. “I really have no words to describe this.”

The car left a path of debris through the yard. The impact shattered a window and caused some damage to the wall.

“Our prayers are with him,” said FOP President Javier Ortiz. “The FOP met with the fallen officer’s family this morning. We are awaiting the results of the open investigation which is being led by the Miami-Dade Police Department.”

Investigators determined Banegas, who was off-duty at the time, was driving at a high rate of speed.

“He ran through the stop sign, jumped the sidewalk, hit a palm tree, a garden wall and then ended up against the home,” said Eduardo Cardeno, who was sleeping inside.

Maria Batista, Cardeno’s wife, said the loud crash startled them.

“We felt the strong bang in the room against the house,” she said. “We left quickly.”

They also tried to help.

“The car was destroyed,” said Cardeno. “I tried to get him out of the car but I couldn’t. The police tried to get him out but they couldn’t either.”

No one inside the home was hurt and it has since been boarded up.

CBS Miami


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