Memorial Mass for Paula Curra de Raffetti draws hundreds; court hearing held for accused DUI driver
Friends and neighbors of Paula Curra de Raffetti, who died from injuries caused in an accident on the Rickenbacker Causeway Saturday, honored the Key Biscayne mother of two this week with a blood drive, prayer vigils and, on Tuesday evening, a standing room only Memorial Mass at St. Agnes Catholic Church.
Earlier in the day Tuesday, a wake for Paula, who was 46, was held at Ferdinand Funeral Home in Miami, followed by a funeral at Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery at 11411 NW 25th Street, Miami.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, you make a small donation in memory of Paula to Fundación Hermanos de la Calle. You may do so by clicking here. .
Meanwhile, on Monday, a 23-year-old was in a Miami courtroom to hear the charges against her for allegedly causing the deadly accident Saturday night.
In a statement to Islander News, Miami Police spokesperson Kiara Delva said, “We responded to 3000 Rickenbacker Causeway at approximately 8:54 p.m. on 11/2 in reference to a traffic accident. Upon arrival, police made contact with a female party who was the passenger of the second vehicle involved. The female who was identified as Paula Curra D.O.B. 04-08-1973 was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital Trauma Center in critical condition. She has since succumbed to her injuries”.
Delva added that police arrested Jessica Fuentes at the scene and charged her with one count each for Driving Under The Influence Serious Bodily Injury, Driving Under The Influence, D.U.I/Damage To Property or Person.
Fuentes is accused of running into the rear of the Rafetti vehicle, causing it to roll over and flip onto a fence. Paula's husband Diego was also in the car but not seriously injured. Police say that just prior to the accident Fuentes had left work at Whiskey Joe's Bar & Grill.
Appearing before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Mindy Glazer, Fuentes' mother appealed for mercy, saying her daughter, who has a 1-year-old child, had never been in trouble before and that this was a "freak accident."
Assistant Miami-Dade State Attorney Laura Adams countered, however, saying it’s not an accident "when somebody has twice the legal limit of alcohol in their system and causes another person’s death."
At press time, Fuentes was being held on $75,000 bond.
Since the accident, the Key Biscayne community expressed their concern on various social media channels. A blood donation drive was organized at St. Agnes Church Sunday to assist with the emergency treatment she was receiving. A group of young Key Biscayne residents, many MAST Students friends of Paula’s oldest Daughter, a Senior at MAST, gathered
Saturday's accident, which happened near the Rickenbacker Marina in Virginia Key, blocked access onto and off of the island for about 8 hours while officials investigated. Close to a thousand people ended up stuck in their vehicles, unable to move until the causeway was reopened at 4 a.m. Sunday.
Causeway accidents and long traffic delays are a reality for Key residents. The Key Biscayne police department is going to work with Miami and Dade police officials to address the issue with new policies.
Key Biscayne Mayor Mike Davey tweeted Sunday that area police agencies will be working to find solutions to recurring closures of the causeway, the only vehicular entrance and exit to the island.
And KBPD Chief Charles Press stated that all concerned residents' voices were heard:
“I have reached out to the two other chiefs for a chiefs-only meeting to discuss permanent alternative plans for incidents (which block access to the island). By reaching directly to the chiefs we can create policy that officers must follow. I will work with county causeway authorities to implement the best type of plan possible for different areas of the causeway.”