FORT LAUDERDALE — Nancy G. Lopez-Ruiz, a Bayshore High alumnus who was just hired to be a dancer for the NBA’s Miami Heat, was killed Friday night in a motorcycle crash.
Lopez-Ruiz, 22, a native of Nicaragua, moved to the United States as an infant and graduated from Bayshore High School, where she was active in athletics and also became captain of the school’s Honey Bears dance team.
Eric Woolworth, president of business operations for the Heat, called Lopez-Ruiz “a lovely young woman with an upbeat personality.”
“Her fierce passion for dancing was contagious,” he added in a statement. “We wish to extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends and teammates.”
Lopez-Ruiz, of Plantation, was riding her 2003 Suzuki GSX R in the westbound right-hand lane of East Sunrise Boulevard when she was hit by a Mercedes driven by Mario Careaga, of Fort Lauderdale, at around 9:30 p.m., according to police reports.
Careaga had been driving behind Lopez-Ruiz, police said. Then the Mercedes hit the median at the lane split and curve of North Federal Highway, then struck the motorcycle, knocking the young woman off her bike.
She was pronounced dead on the scene.
Police opened a drunken-driving investigation of Careaga, whose age was not known. Sgt. Frank Sousa, the Fort Lauderdale police public information officer, said it would be months before the investigation was concluded.
The Plantation resident had just signed on to dance this season for the Heat, which opens its preseason schedule Oct. 5 with the debut of Dream Team trio LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Police ask witnesses to the crash — or anyone else with information about it — to contact Traffic Homicide Investigator Jonathan Graham at (954) 828-5125 or Broward County Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS.
Brown and Sons Funeral Homes in Bradenton, (941) 758-7788, is handling arrangements.