Civil suit filed in Miami bridge collapse; last 2 victims named

Workers search the site of a pedestrian bridge that collapsed at Florida International University last week, just days after it was installed over southwest 8th Street in Miami, Florida. Photo by Gary Rothstein/UPI

March 19 (UPI) — Authorities have identified the last two unnamed victims of the pedestrian bridge collapse at Miami’s Florida International University, as attorneys prepare to file the first civil lawsuit in the accident.

Officials said Brandon Brownfield and Alexa Duran died in the collapse last week. The other four were named by police over the weekend.

Brownfield, 39, was a married father of three and a crane technician who was driving beneath the bridge when it buckled. Duran, 18, was a freshman at FIU.

“It’s a pretty magical thing to find your soulmate in this world. Like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, our crazy curvy edges matched and we fit together like no one else could,” Brownfield’s widow, Chelsea, wrote in a Facebook post. “The coming days are going to be excruciating, as we dig deep to find the strength we need to heal.

“Please keep us in your prayers, as I now have to find the words and the answers to tell my girls that their Daddy is not coming home.”

Duran was driving a friend to an appointment when they passed beneath the bridge.

“I would give anything to take your place and all of your pain,” Alexa’s sister, Dina, wrote in an Instagram post. “I will cherish every memory we’ve made and will miss you every day for the rest of my life.”

Other victims Rolando Fraga Hernandez, Oswald Gonzalez and Alberto Ariaswere found Saturday morning after crews removed two cars from the rubble. Another, Navarro Brown, died at a hospital.

A makeshift memorial at FIU began to appear Sunday — flowers and six small wooden crosses hanging from a wall on campus. FIU President Mark Rosenberg held a moment of silence for the victims.

“It’s going to take time for us and our community to heal,” Rosenberg said in a video message.

The pedestrian bridge was built as part of a $19.4 million project grant and was elevated in one piece March 10 by MCM Construction and FIGG Engineering.

Orlando, Fla., attorney Matt Morgan announced over the weekend he would file the first civil lawsuit in the accident.

“I will be filing the first civil lawsuit related to the FIU Bridge Collapse [Monday] morning,” Morgan tweeted. “It is imperative we act quickly to secure critical documentation and data. Thoughts & prayers to all the families impacted by this tragedy.”

MCM was sued earlier this month for alleged faulty construction of a bridge built at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.


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