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Street sweeper driver charged in Bianca Milov accident

The driver of a Coral Gables street sweeper that ran over a University of Miami student last month near the Village of Merrick Park has been charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian, a noncriminal traffic infraction, according to police.

Junior Bianca Milov, 20, was critically injured in the incident, which took place at 1 a.m. on Sept. 11. She was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center, where she remains in critical condition.

Jose L. Santiesteban, 44, the driver of the Coral Gables street sweeper, was cited for violation of the right of way to a pedestrian who is walking on a crosswalk. He was charged on Oct. 14.

A 14-page report released by the Coral Gables police crash investigation unit more than 10 days later explains the details of the incident.

Santiesteban’s machine collided with Milov when he was turning north on Aurora Avenue. He then drove 153 feet more before an alarm alerted him that the street sweeper’s mechanism wasn’t working well.

At about the same time a witness who saw the accident ran up to the vehicle and told him he had struck a pedestrian.

Santiesteban then reversed the street sweeper 60 feet until Milov was ejected from under it. She was unconscious and bleeding profusely as she lay in the street.

Police said that Santiesteban had originally given them a false account of what happened. “Mr. Santiesteban stated he fabricated the person stumbling and falling because he was scared after the crash.”

He told detectives that he was driving eastbound on Altara Avenue and was making a left turn onto Aurora at about 10 miles per hour.

That’s when he said he stopped the vehicle after a witness ran up to him and told him he had struck a pedestrian.

“Mr. Santiesteban advised that a pedestrian was crossing the road, not doing ‘good’ and fell down,” the report said. “Mr. Santiesteban then felt a bump.”

There was no mention on the report of alcohol being a factor in the accident for either Santiesteban or Milov. However, the report noted that two fake driver’s licenses, from Pennsylvania and Arizona, were found near Milov with her name and photo on each, but her birth year had been altered from 1989 to 1986.

According to the police report, Milov had been texting and talking to her roommates just before the accident, when she was walking one block away from her apartment. It was 1:01 a.m. and it was drizzling. Milov was also wearing dark-colored clothes: a pair of black leggings, a black tank top and a grey vest. The area was also dark with little street lighting.

The University of Miami continues to support Milov, originally of Livingston, N.J., and her family.

“I have been in constant contact with Bianca’s family since her arrival at Ryder Trauma and continue to meet with her mother who is by her side,” said Patricia A. Whitely, vice president for Student Affairs. “The University of Miami and the UM Miller School of Medicine will continue to offer any support needed by the family.  Bianca continues to make slow progress, but remains in the Ryder Trauma Center.”

October 27, 2009

Reporters

Lila Albizu

Assistant News Editor


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