This is distressing. We never hear from the families of those who have died from a Florida Brightline train.
Verónica Martinez Vorano died on November 15th 2019 in Aventura after a Brightline train hit her Mercedes SUV. Her family wants to know what happened.
The crash happened at the intersection of West Dixie Highway and Ives Dairy Road near Aventura.
The train, which can reach a top speed of 79 mph, dragged the vehicle about 100 yards before it came to rest.
On February 8, we received this email from a relative of Ms. Vorano in Argentina.
“I am cousin of Verónica Martinez Vorano, the woman who died in the BrightLine crash of November 15th 2019 in Aventura.
Is there someone there who could help me and my family to understand what exactly happened that day. We need that to bring some rationality to this fact.
Verónica was young, healthy and full of life. She had an apartment and a car there in Miami. She used to go there almost three times per year, since ten years ago more or less. With this, I would mean that she knew the place, the rules of traffic, she was not a tourist that goes for the first time.
I have visited the web site of Alliance for Safe Trains and read about the stories of people that lost their lives there. I also read different articles about the crashes, the “safety measures” (if we could call them like this).
I would like to contact Susan Mehiel or other member of Alliance for Safe Trains.
The design for the train travel route and the rail road crossings don’t give place to doubts or mistakes. And we are human beings, so mistakes and doubts could happen. There’s no time for any reaction once you are in there. I realized that rail road crossings are mortal traps for many.
It’s not fair that so many people lost their lives there. They are not things, they are persons that have lives, families and a story behind them.
It’s hard to believe that Verónica made an infringement, so we need a rational explanation for why she stood on the tracks, whatever it is.
I will really appreciate your answer and of course if you could bring as some information. We know, by the news, that there were witnesses of the crash.
We also would like to know if we can help to generate a change, so this does not continue happening. The State and the Regulator (FDOT) must to intercede.
Thank you very much for your attention.”
February 10, 2019
Regarding to your questions and based in what I know:
– No, there hasn’t been any financial support for them.
– No, I didn’t contact Brightline.
– I have no notice that there has been any kind of accident report.
-Her direct family is very sad. My cousin, (her brother), who is in copy in this e-mail, wants as me, to know what exactly happened.
When the crash happened her son and his father went to Miami for two weeks. I know that they were in contact with the Sheriff but I’m not sure if they saw the cameras, videos or something.
Understanding is part of acceptance and we are in this process.
Evidently something is not running very well, if not, there aren’t so many articles questioning safety.
Something is failing, and we think these issues must change.”
February 11, 2020
“I would like to ask you if you will have access to any kind of videos, reports or interviews with someone in Brightline? We don’t know anything, only that she was on the tracks. So, why she was there? Why she didn’t move? Did she have that possibility? There were other cars? There was enough time to do something? The barriers went down when she was inside the rail road crossing?”
February 14, 2020
“She left her family, her brother, her son, her parents that are alive and a little nephew. She left we, her uncle and her four cousins. She loved travel. She left many, many friends. She was a loved person and a respected professional.
She supposed to return on Monday, three days after the crash, she stayed buying Christmas presents. So sad. It’s hard to find words for this.”
February 14, 2020 (from a cousin)
It is very difficult and irrational what happened. Veronica was a bomb of life, of energy, her last time was very busy sharing family moments, meeting and enjoying the company she was at his best. There is no day that I do not get up and think about her and this madness. The pain of all your loved ones becomes your own pain. Not only is Vero’s absence, but to see all those left with that sadness where nothing will ever be the same. They took her life, I feel a great pain for this. An honest, noble and cheerful person. I will remember you that way. We miss you … you will always be in us.
Thank you very much for all.
- At the time of the crash Miami-Dade police detective Lee Cowart said: “Traffic Homicide will be taking over the investigation.” What is the status of that investigation?
- Has Brightline conducted their own investigation?
- An important aspect to this accident is that rail road companies virtually investigate and monitor the accidents themselves. There are apparently black boxes on every train and at the crossings. Who has the black boxes and who analyzes them? Does FDOT do any analysis?
- There is a Traffic Preemption System which can be installed that controls the traffic signals near the crossing so that the lights are timed to turn red well before the train arrives so cars are not backed up on the tracks when the gates go down. This would help prevent a vehicle from being stopped between the track and gate when the crossing is near a signalized intersection. It is doubtful the crossing where Ms. Vorano was killed had this system.
GPS photo of railroad crossing near the Aventura Mall.
You can see from the above GPS photo that the rail road tracks running top to bottom on the picture next to a street. You can also see a number of streets near the tracks which make for a dangerous circumstance.
The Federal Government railroad experts reviewed all of the rail road crossings on the route for the high-speed rail and made recommendations on the safety features and design changes that should be made at each.
Susan Mehiel has reviewed their recommendations for the crossings in Miami “and from what it appears – they recommended the roads crossing the tracks at this point be CLOSED because of dangers.”
We found these comments posted on La Capital:
“I was the first person that went to help Veronica, unfortunately there was nothing to do but, I think there was a failure in the technical part of the indications of the crossing, the camera of my car completely recorded everything that happened. The barrier came down just a few seconds before the train passed.”
[“…a failure in the technical part of the indications of the crossing…”]
“usually ….. in that crossing ….. when there is a lot of traffic over the bridge of ives dairy road …. people are sent below and do a couple of laps and go to the level of the train tracks ……. from the west to the east is not physically visible if a train is coming …… you have to rely on the warning lights or as the rule says make a total stop and look for both sides ……….. without a doubt the scribe sent a …………. I’ve seen many accidents that way …….. almost always it’s reckless ……….”
“Hopefully, the truth will be known prior to rigorous investigations.”
“Veronica was special, supportive, generous, intelligent.”
“Dear Veronica..Q.E.P.D ,, God give the strength to overcome this great pain to your beloved family … hugs!”
This is a developing story.