Grieving parents file suit against DUI driver in Miami-Dade wrong-way crash killing 5

Attorneys stood next to the grieving family of a 19-year-old woman on Thursday in Coral Gables. They were together to announce a lawsuit against the man who police said was drunk when he crashed head-on into her car — killing her and four of her friends — in Miami-Dade County.

The crash changed Angela Pacalagua’s life. She held up pictures of her late 19-year-old daughter, Briana Pacalagua, wearing a silver princess tiara, a corset bodice white ball gown, and her long brown hair in delicate waves, for the “Sweet Sixteen” photo shoot.

“Waking up every day and realizing that my daughter is not there is not easy. We have to go through the day, it is not easy. I can only tell you, through the hands of God,” Angela Pacalagua said.

Angela Pacalagua holds up pictures of her late 19-year-old daughter, Briana Pacalagua, who died on Aug. 20 during a wrong-way crash in Miami-Dade County.

The Pacalagua family blames Maiky Simeon for the tragedy. Attorney Robert Boyers, who is representing them, said he filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Miami-Dade County civil court against Simeon, who is being held without bond at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.

“There is no amount that would be appropriate to compensate this family for losing this extraordinary child but the civil case is also about the defendant paying for the consequences for his callous disregard for human life,” Boyers said.

Corrections officers book Maiky Simeon who is facing charges in a wrong-way crash that killed a group of five people in Miami-Dade County.

Pacalagua was driving a gray Honda sedan on Aug. 20 after a fond farewell celebration for a friend who was moving to start his bachelor’s degree at New York University. At about 4:30 a.m., Pacalagua was on the Palmetto Expressway’s westbound lanes near Doral, police said.

Simeon was driving a silver Infinity sedan while drunk, police said. According to Florida Highway Patrol troopers, he was traveling eastbound on the westbound lanes of the Palmetto Expressway when he collided head-on with Pacalagua’s Honda near Northwest 57 Avenue.

From left, Valeria Peña, 17; Valeria Caceres, 18; Giancarlo Arias, 18; Briana Pacalagua, 19; and Daniela Marcano, 19; died during a crash on Aug. 20 in Miami-Dade County.

Simeon survived. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue personnel found five dead: Briana Pacalagua and her friends Valeria Peña, 17; Valeria Caceres, 18; Giancarlo Arias, 18; and Daniela Marcano, 19. Arias was the one who was preparing to move to New York City.

“She was daddy’s little girl,” John Pacalagua said. “Now, she is daddy’s little angel.”

Fire Rescue personnel used a helicopter to fly Simeon to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center. A toxicology test later showed Simeon’s blood alcohol level was nearly double the legal limit, police said.

Simeon is facing five counts of vehicular homicide in a reckless manner and five counts of DUI manslaughter.

“He’s appropriately being prosecuted in the criminal case. The criminal case is about punishing the defendant. The civil case or the civil justice system is about holding him fully accountable for the devastating harm that he caused this family,” Boyers said.

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