The family of 20-year-old Miami Dade College student Pablo Sanchez Jr., who was killed after the Uber he was a passenger in was involved in a fiery car crash on Dec. 27, is suing Uber, the driver and the motorist who crashed into them for auto negligence.
Sanchez, who was a pharmacology student, was out in South Beach with three friends on that night when they called an Uber for a ride to his house. They were in a GMC Yukon driven by Jean Ralph Adam. Sanchez was seated in the right rear passenger seat.
Three blocks from Sanchez’s house, they were hit by a Toyota Corolla driven by Alexander Chica at an intersection on S.W. 144 St. and 157 Ave., according to the lawsuit. Reports show Chica was intoxicated while driving 70 MPH in a 35 MPH zone. The GMC Yukon flipped from the impact of Chica’s car, went into flames and exploded. Everyone else besides Sanchez was able to escape. He was burned along with the car.
Chica is being charged with driving under the influence and manslaughter. According to the Miami Herald, the judge allowed Chica to be released from jail after posting a $30,000 bond, though he has to wear an electronic ankle monitor.
According to Andrew Yaffa, an attorney at the Grossman Roth firm in Coral Gables who is representing Sanchez’s family in their lawsuit, both drivers were found to be at fault in the police report. Yaffa said the Uber driver violated the right of way by making a left hand turn.
According to Yaffa, Sanchez is remembered as being a kind young man who always tried to help people.
“He was a great young man,” Yaffa said. “He was loved by everyone. He would give the shirt off his back.”
Sanchez’s family is devastated and angry over the loss.
“[They’re wondering] how something like this can happen,” Yaffa said.
According to the Miami Herald, Uber spokesman, Bill Gibbons declined to make any comments: “We are deeply saddened by this tragic accident, and our thoughts are with all those involved and their families during this very difficult time.”
Uber did not respond to requests for comment from The Reporter.
The Miami Herald also reported that there was a fear that Chica was going to flee the country when he tweeted, “A little Colombia run coming soon.” His lawyer stated that it was a soccer reference, though Chica had to surrender his passport.
While not allowed in Broward County, Uber is legal in Miami even after taxi companies fought against it. There are concerns about Uber’s level of background checks for their drivers.