June 17, 2019
Driver charged in connection with 2016 crash that killed Miami police officer

A South Florida man turned himself in Monday in connection with a 2016 crash that killed a Miami police officer who was nearing retirement.

Ronald Nicholas Pla, now 27, is charged with vehicular homicide in connection with the death of Officer Jorge Sanchez.  

"Due to our investigation and interviews with his medical doctors, we determined that he had a medical condition that should have kept him from driving," a Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Alex Camacho said. 

Troopers said Pla lost control of his car Nov. 1, 2016, before he crashed into the back of Sanchez's police-issued motorcycle on Southwest Eighth Street at 137th Avenue.

According to an arrest warrant, Pla was driving at 116 mph at the time of the crash and had THC in his system, which was consistent with the recent ingestion of cannabis. Authorities said blood tests also showed that Pla had two other substances in his system, which were redacted from the report. 

Sanchez, 53, was pronounced dead at Kendall Regional Medical Center.

Authorities said Pla was driving east on Eighth Street in his 2013 Infiniti G37 when he lost control of his car and crashed into the back of Sanchez's motorcycle.

According to the warrant, Pla suffered some kind of medical episode and was not responding to his passenger's calls. 

Authorities said the passenger, Abraham Miranda, grabbed the steering wheel, but couldn't avoid the crash.

Miranda said Pla was physically awake, but "mentally was just in a stare," the report stated. 

Sanchez, who was stopped at a red light in the center eastbound lane, was thrown off his motorcycle onto the roadway.  

Troopers said Pla's car traveled across the intersection into westbound traffic and struck two more vehicles, causing a chain-reaction crash.

Ten vehicles, one of which overturned on its side, were involved in the crash.

Troopers said seven people suffered minor injuries, including Pla. 

Elma Lucia Alvarez, then 48, who was driving a 2016 Lexus RX350, was taken to Kendall Regional in serious condition.

Sanchez had worked for the Miami Police Department for 21 years. One of his sons, Eric, is also a Miami police officer. 

"This was an officer that loved to go to work every day, and because of someone's carelessness he lost his life," Camacho said. "It's tragic." 


Officer Jorge Sanchez

Image result for miami police officer jorge sanchez