Sara Ramirez Sandoval, Bertha Rodriguez-Garcia Die in I-595 Accidents

April 30, 2012

By Elaina Robbins on April 30, 2012 11:20 AM |

Sara Ramirez Sandoval and Bertha Rodriguez-Garcia died in separate Florida Turnpike accidents on 1-595 in South Florida, reports indicate. Sandoval, 22, and Rodriguez-Garcia, 20, were both involved in the accidents last Thursday, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The crash that killed Sandoval involved two motorcycles and left an unidentified man in critical condition, sources indicate. The car accident that killed Rodriguez-Garcia involved a Honda CRV driven by 36-year-old Wilbert Saintubert and a small SUV that left the scene of the accident. Both accidents are still under investigation, and charges have not yet been filed.

According to a press release by the Florida Highway Patrol, the motorcycle accident occurred at approximately 1:40 a.m. last Thursday on a ramp that joins westbound I-595 with the Florida Turnpike. The stretch has been under construction for two years and will be for another two years, reports indicate. The speed limit in the area is 35 miles per hour because of a sharp left turn in the ramp, but a FHP representative said that many drivers are unprepared for the turn. "Previous crashes like this that we have had in the other area ramps have been speed-related," said the representative to the press. Since the accident is still under investigation, it is not yet known whether speed was a factor.

According to the release, Sandoval was riding her 2011 Honda motorcycle, and the other motorcyclist involved was riding a 2005 Suzuki. Officials say that both drivers lost control of their vehicles and slammed their bikes into a concrete wall on the side of the ramp. They then reportedly flew over the wall and fell approximately 30 feet to I-595. Reports indicate that the male victim was not run over, although it is not clear whether Sandoval was. Sources indicate that Sandoval was transported to Broward Medical Center and pronounced dead shortly after the accident. The male victim, whose name has not been released, was last reported to be in critical condition. No updates have been made available.

The car accident that killed Bertha Garcia-Rodriguez reportedly also occurred in i-595's westbound lanes near Nob Hill Road at approximately 4:00 in the morning. FHP officials say that Wilbert Saintubert was hit from behind by a dark-colored sports utility vehicle. Saintubert lost control of his Honda CRV and swerved into another lane, where Rodriguez-Garcia hit him with her Honda Civic. Her vehicle then flipped over and went to the right, launching her out of the vehicle and onto the highway. She was pronounced dead at the scene, according to reports. Saintubert, who suffered from minor injuries, was treated at Westside Hospital.

Police are currently searching for the SUV, which they say sustained heavy damage to its front end. Officials are hoping that a witness will come forward with information on the vehicle. "Anytime you have hit and runs, it's so important that we have at least some information to help us out, a partial tag number, a tag number, a good description of the vehicle and a possible description of the driver and the damage also," said one Florida Highway Patrol sergeant of the incident.