Criminal charges may be on the horizon in the tragic FIU pedestrian bridge collapse that claimed the lives of six people this week.
Miami-Dade police and prosecutors have started an investigation into the accident that killed at least six people, but building a criminal prosecution for the deaths remains a daunting prospect, according to legal experts.
Fatalities in construction and industrial accidents rarely result in manslaughter prosecutions because, under Florida law, it is difficult to prove people involved in the projects acted with a “reckless disregard for human life” or had “a grossly careless disregard for the safety and welfare of the public.”
As investigators worked to find the final bodies trapped in vehicles under the rubble Friday night, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration began probes to determine what caused the catastrophe — a crucial ruling needed before any criminal charges can be considered.
Among the factors the probes will consider: Was substandard material used on the concrete span? Were there crucial design flaws in the “instant bridge” designed to minimize disruption to traffic? Were safety measures ignored that might have prevented harm to the the public?