Widow of Bicyclist Killed in Miami-Dade Crash Speaks Out After Multi-Million Dollar Jury Verdict

MIAMI (AP) – Miami-Dade Police has been ordered to pay a multi-million dollar jury verdict following a fatal crash involving a bicyclist. The widow of the man killed nearly three years ago spoke exclusively with CBS News Miami about the decision.

Jeishy Zerpa, the widow of Juan Carlos Martinez, recounted the pain she continues to experience. “When I wake up on Saturdays, around the same time, I look at the clock and say this is when my life changed,” Zerpa said tearfully.

Martinez was killed on the morning of February 27, 2021, when a Miami-Dade Police car struck him while he was out for a bike ride in the Redland. Body cam footage obtained from Zerpa’s legal team revealed the aftermath of the crash, with the cycling group visibly shaken.

Zerpa rushed to the hospital upon receiving news of the accident, where she uncovered her husband’s lifeless body. A Miami-Dade State Attorney spokesman described the incident as a “tragic accident” and stated that the officer involved was not charged with a crime.

In September 2021, Zerpa filed a civil lawsuit against Miami-Dade County, alleging negligence on the part of the officer. The jury recently ruled in Zerpa’s favor, awarding her $3 million in damages for herself and their daughter, Miranda.

While Zerpa expressed gratitude for the verdict, she acknowledges that it cannot bring complete closure. “I don’t think I will ever find closure,” she said. Zerpa fondly reminiscences about the moments she spent watching Martinez play with their daughter.

Zerpa revealed that she continues to wear her wedding band, a symbol of the everlasting love they shared. She emotionally shared a letter Martinez had written to her on their wedding day, vowing to always be together. Zerpa admitted that finding solace remains a challenge.

Miami-Dade police have not yet decided whether to appeal the jury’s decision. The department’s statement acknowledged that the officer violated departmental policy by driving above the speed limit with unauthorized emergency signals. However, the police officer remains employed.

The tragic accident and subsequent legal battle have left Zerpa with lasting memories and a profound sense of loss. Despite the verdict, Zerpa knows that the pain of losing her husband will never fully dissipate.

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