If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this one says it all. Two on-duty Miami police officers mug and smile for the camera while surrounded by five young women celebrating a bachelorette party July 2 at the Clevelander hotel.
Later the same night, one of the officers, Derick Kuilan, took the bachelorette for a joyride on a department-owned ATV, crashing into and seriously injuring two innocent beachgoers.
The picture was released Tuesday by Miami-Dade prosecutors as they charged Kuilan with two felony counts of reckless driving with serious bodily injury and two counts of DUI with serious bodily injury. The second officer, Rolando Gutierrez, does not face criminal charges.
“It is mind-boggling that they felt comfortable enough to do something like that,” Miami Beach Police Chief Carlos Noriega told the Miami Herald.
Both officers have been fired from the department since the time of the incident.
Details of what allegedly happened are outlined in a warrant prepared by prosecutor David I. Gilbert and Miami Beach detective Robert Silvagni:
Derick Kuilan was assigned to ATV patrol, midnight shift, on July 3 and Officer Rolando Gutierrez was assigned to patrol mid-Beach.
That night, the pair of officers walked into the Clevelander hotel bar, a known attraction for tourists, around 5 a.m.
A group of young women from Pennsylvania were celebrating a bachelorette party when the officers arrived. After posing for a picture with the group, Kuilan and Gutierrez began dancing and drinking.
Kuilan then invited the bachelorette, Adalee Martin, to take a ride with him on the ATV he had parked nearby, to which Martin agreed.
The two drove south along the beach at alternating speeds, turning the headlights on and off as they neared approaching pedestrians. When they arrived at the end of the beach and turned around, they drove back north with the vehicle’s lights turned off.
On the drive back, the ATV crashed into Kitzie Nicanor and Luis Almonte, who were on the beach dipping their feet in the water. Bystanders claimed that the ATV whizzed by and that “they could barely see it, because it had no lights on and it was traveling fast,” according to the warrant.
Almonte suffered a broken femur, requiring surgery, while Nicanor had to have her spleen removed and remains hospitalized in serious condition.