Driver charged in death of three in Miami’s Little Haiti
BY MONIQUE O. MADAN AND DAVID J. NEAL
MIAMI – The woman who sources say crashed into three teenagers, killing them on impact, acknowledged from her hospital bed early Tuesday that she was in a crash and suffered serious injuries.
Mariam Coulibaly, 31-year-old exotic dancer, was charged late Tuesday on charges of DUI manslaughter after initial toxicology tests showed she was driving drunk, sources told the Miami Herald.
She was placed under police guard at the hospital and will be booked into a jail when she is well enough to be discharged.
“I’m very much depressed about everything going on,” Coulibaly told the Miami Herald from her intensive care bed at Aventura Hospital. “I came from a blackout. When I woke up I didn’t even know that I hurt people.”
She continued: “I shattered my chest. I had surgery on my stomach. Shattered my hip. I don’t know what’s going on. I need to let this sink in. That’s what I need.”
Driving about 60
Coulibaly did not go into any more detail about what happened Saturday morning and did not acknowledge any deaths.
“This is terrible, especially for someone who has never been in trouble before,” she said.
She said she needed to speak with her attorney before saying anything more.
Sources say Coulibaly smelled of alcohol at the scene, and that she also told medical staff she had been partying all night. Investigators estimate Coulibaly was driving around 60 miles per hour before crashing into the three teens in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood.
Walking to bus stop
Gedeon Desir, 13, Lens Desir, 15, and Richecarde Dumay, 17, all members of Little Haiti Football Club, a local soccer team for at-risk, low-income youth with athletic talent, died at about 5:22 a.m. Saturday.
They were walking to the bus stop, eager for a long-awaited soccer tournament in Weston.
Records show Coulibaly had two misdemeanor criminal arrests in Miami-Dade: a petty theft in 2017 and marijuana possession in 2008. Both cases were dropped.
According to online Miami-Dade county traffic records, Coulibaly’s license was suspended Jan. 19, 2018, for not paying a $293 ticket after getting busted by a red light camera in Coral Gables on Feb. 18, 2016.
There is no notation of payment or reinstatement since then. The online records say the fine amount, now $410.20, was referred to a collection agency April 10, 2018.
But Coulibaly’s driving record extends outside Miami-Dade into Broward, documents show. All incidents appear to have happened in the early morning hours.
Online Broward County court records and traffic citations say Coulibaly got caught going 77 mph in a 35 mph zone between 7600 and 8000 on Atlantic Boulevard at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015.
Margate police ticketed her for speeding, having a tag that’s been expired more than six months and knowingly driving with a suspended license.
Eventually, the suspended license ticket was dropped, she pleaded nolo contendre (no contest) to the speeding and license tag violations and was fined for the speeding violation. That fine is now $490.05 and was sent to collections in 2017.
Drove too fast
That came just three months and four days after Coulibaly was ticketed for the same three violations, including doing 75 mph in a 45 mph zone, by Davie police around 4600 S. State Road 7 at 6:47 a.m. on July 5, 2015. In that case, she pleaded nolo to driving on a suspended license, and the other two tickets were dismissed. She paid the $355 fine.
She was ticketed, but not convicted, for driving too fast for the conditions after a 7:30 a.m., Nov. 10, 2013, crash on Interstate 95 around the Hallandale Beach Boulevard exit.
As Florida Highway Patrol Officer Christian Flores described the crash, Coulibaly was on I-95’s southbound side in the far righthand lane when she rear-ended a car in front of her to start a crash that eventually involved a car in the lane to their left.
Sued in civil court
Progressive Insurance, the insurance company of the driver in the third car, sued Coulibaly and the driver of the second car in Broward County civil court.
They got a default judgment against Coulibaly of $11,695.06 when she “failed to appear, serve or file any pleadings as required by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure,” the final judgment said. The ticket was dismissed for lack of prosecution, online records say.
Over the weekend, North Miami Police identified the three minors killed in the crash, but refused to confirm the name of the driver.
“It’s Memorial Day weekend and the investigation is still ongoing. It only happened a few days ago and we have to make sure the investigation is done right,” said North Miami Assistant Police Chief Franzia Brea.
Miami Herald staff writer David Ovalle contributed to this report.