A group of friends were returning home from a weekend trip to Sarasota when a Dodge Charger crashed into their minivan in Northwest Miami-Dade early Monday, killing one and injuring six others.
The driver of the car took off running, and police detectives are trying to find him.
The crash happened around 12:30 a.m. at the intersection of Northwest 119th Street and 22nd Avenue, according to Miami-Dade police. The area is near Miami Dade College North Campus.
Police say a 2004 Toyota Sienna, with seven men in their early 20s inside, were heading east on Northwest 119th Street. As they crossed the intersection, a speeding Dodge Charger rear-ended them, police said.
The driver of the 2015 Charger then got out and ran from the crash, said Miami-Dade police spokesman Detective Alvaro Zabaleta. The driver is bald and about six feet tall, according to police.
Helicopter video from TV news stations showed the van mangled, evidence markers scattered across the roadway. The Charger appeared to have busted through a gate and had heavy front-end damage.
One of the people inside the van, a 23-year-old, was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital Ryder Trauma Center in critical condition. He later died, Zabaleta said. The other six, who are also in their early 20s, were taken to the hospital in stable condition.
Police later identified the man who died as 23-year-old Christoper Lopez. He and his friends were returning home from a weekend trip to Sarasota when their van was struck, a friend of the family told the Miami Herald.
Lopez was a “competitive debate student,” a “goofball” and a good friend, according to a GoFundMe account that was created Monday afternoon to help support Lopez’s family with funeral expenses.
“Chris had a way to make those around him feel the warmth and love from his heart and Chris was always cracking jokes and putting smiles on people’s faces,” according to the GoFundMe.
The GoFundMe surpassed its goal of $5,000 within a few hours of going live Monday. It has now raised more than $9,000.
Anyone with information about the hit-and-run is asked to call Miami-Dade CrimeStoppers at 305-471-TIPS (8477) or 866-471-8477. If you have a tip that leads to an arrest, you may be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.