On Thursday, March 25th, 2021, around 11:30 pm, Pastor Noe Aguilar was riding his bike on the MacArthur Causeway eastbound near Terminal Isle. At the same time, Katherine Colabella was driving east on the same road when she struck Pastor Noe Aguilar with her 2019 black Mercedes C300 and drove off, leaving Pastor Noe Aguilar with life threatening injuries at the scene of the crash. The Miami Beach pastor is now fighting for his life at the Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center in extremely critical condition after undergoing life-saving surgery to stop a brain bleed.
After striking Noe, the 31-year old Colabella drove to The Continuum condominium building near South Pointe Drive and Ocean Drive, dropping her damaged car off at the valet and proceeding to head to a resident’s condominium. The arrest report indicates that the building’s employees noted Colabella was “looking like she was drunk,” and soon after called 911 once they saw the damage on the Mercedes-Benz sedan, including a smashed windsiehlf. The police then towed her vehicle away.
The following morning, Colabella went to the Miami Beach police headquarters, questioning where her car was and stating “that after she crashed, she panicked and left the crash scene without calling 911 or rendering help.” The arrest report further says that Colabella admits she drank before driving and crashing into Noe.
Now, we here at Ward Law are fighting for not only Noe’s rights, but for his family’s rights as well. Noe is a father of two and has been a husband to his wife, Aracely Aguilar, for 25 years. “When someone is injured, it’s not just the person who is injured,” Greg Ward, managing partner at The Ward Group, PL, stated, “It’s the family that’s injured, and so this family right now is suffering.”
Jany Martinez-Ward, the managing partner at The Ward Group PL, further elaborates that the devastating element of this situation is that not only was Noe hit, “he was left at the scene of the accident. And nobody should be left at the scene of the accident to maybe die.”
Officers arrested Colabella on charges for leaving a crash scene after causing serious bodily injury and reckless driving, which caused serious bodily injury.
We will work diligently to fight for Noe and his family’s rights. This includes:
- Working with law enforcement.
- Investigating the accident circumstances to demonstrate Colabella’s causation and fault.
- Working with accident and injury experts to determine the amount of compensation Noe and his family will be entitled to.
- Negotiating with any auto insurance company on behalf of Noe and his family.
- Navigating the complexities around the criminal hit and run proceedings of this case.
Cases involving hit and run drivers are different from other automobile accidents.
In some cases, we may not know who the driver is, which adds additional complexity to the case. Unfortunately, the number of hit-and-run accidents has increased in Florida, with nearly 25% of all accidents involving hit-and-runs.
However, since the hit-and-run driver has been identified, found, and charged, the process of holding her fully responsible for the harm she caused Noe and her family is less complex.
The Aaron Cohen Protection Act
On July 1st, 2014, Florida legislators signed the Aaron Cohen Protection Act (section 316.027 of the Florida Statutes) into law. The law is named after Aaron Cohen, a 31-year old father of two that a drunk driver fatally struck in 2012. The driver was sentenced to two years in prison, which was less than what the driver would have served if he had received a DUI manslaughter charge. This statute now imposes a mandatory four-year minimum for any driver that causes a crash and leaves the crash scene, which results in another’s death.
Other penalties that can result from leaving the crash scene depend on the extent of the damages. For example:
- Property Damage – If there is just property damage and the driver leaves the accident scene, then the driver can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor, serving up to 60 days in prison and paying a $500 fine.
- Injuries: If the driver causes another person injuries and leaves the crash scene, he or she can be charged with a second or third-degree felony, which will result in a revoked license for at least three years, a $5,000 fine, and up to fifteen years in prison.
- Death: If the driver causes a fatality and leaves the accident scene, the driver can be charged with a first-degree felony, resulting in a revoked license for at least three years, a mandatory minimum of four years in prison (up to 30 years), and a $10,000 fine.
No matter what – if you are involved in a crash, always stay at the accident scene and call 911 for help. Staying at the accident scene is not just what the law requires, but also can help save a life.
What compensation do we seek to recover for our clients?
Since we know who the driver is and she is being charged, we can hold Colabella liable for Noe’s injuries and the damages she caused to Noe’s family. Colabella breached her duty of care through her reckless drinking while driving, which caused Noe’s injuries. Specifically, since Colabella was drinking while driving, the legal term negligence per se will be applicable – meaning no matter what, as a matter of law, Colabella was negligent.
This is a criminal offense, and once convicted for the DUI, we will demonstrate that her decision to drive under the influence caused Noe’s injuries. We will fight for Noe’s rights to receive compensation for all of his medical and hospital bills, any property damage, the emotional suffering he and his family will endure and have endured, and any other damages that may arise.
At Ward Law, we are determined to fight for our client’s rights. We support Noe and his family through these difficult times to receive the justice they deserve.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2021
Noe Aguilar, a pastor on Miami Beach, was riding a bicycle on MacArthur Causeway (EB) when he was the victim of a hit and run.
The accident happened around 11:30 pm last Thursday March 25th.
The defendant Collabella Katherine Layla was driving a 2019 Mercedez C300 Black. The defendant left the scene of the accident. She was later found and charged with reckless driving and serious bodily harm.
Noe Aguilar is currently in the trauma center at Jackson Memorial Hospital in a comma.
Noe is a father of two and he has been married to his wife Aracely Aguilar for 25 years.
JANY MARTINEZ-WARD: “Our client here is the victim. The defendant at fault was driving, and hit my client, He was riding the bicycle from work. He was going back to his home. And he was hit, He was left at the scene of the accident, and not one should be left at the scene of the accident ”- Said Jany Martinez-Ward managing partner at The Ward Law Group PL.
“When someone is injured it’s not just the person that’s injured, it’s the family that’s injured” – said Greg Ward managing partner at The Ward Law Group PL.
Family will be addressing the media alongside her attorneys Greg Ward and Jany Martinez-Ward.
About The Ward Law Group
The Ward Law Group is one of the largest law firms in South Florida representing victims of motor-vehicle accidents. With over a decade of experience in handling personal injury cases, the attorneys at The Ward Law Group – Gregory Ward and Jany Martínez-Ward – have a track record of achieving results. The Ward Law Group team consists of bilingual lawyers, paralegals and case managers who advocate for the rights of Spanish-speaking victims. The firm operates on a “contingency fee” basis, which means that payment is a fixed percentage of cases only after recovery. If a case is not successful, clients do not pay attorney fees.
For legal advice that you can trust, contact The Ward Law Group today or call 855-DOLOR-55 for a free consultation.