Chicago tourist flies out of car and is killed by a driver in Miami
It started out as a joyful trip, just four friends celebrating a birthday. The young women swam in the ocean and clubbed in South Beach.
After three days of spring break fun, it was time to head back to the airport.
Their rented Hyundai barreled west on the Airport Expressway, near Okeechobee Road, just minutes from Miami International Airport. It was 4:43 a.m. Sunday and few cars were on the road.
Twenty-three-year-old Mariah Michelle Logan was “hanging out” of the right rear passenger window. She yelled, “Bye, Miami,” as the skyline faded into the distance. Life was good.
Then, suddenly, without warning, she flew out of the car and landed on the road. The driver was changing lanes from the outside to the center lane.
A hit-and-run driver crushed her to death on the highway.
According to the crash report, early Sunday morning, Logan fell from the 2019 Hyundai Accent sedan on State Road 112, the highway that connects Miami Beach with the airport.
“She was just being silly. She loved life,” her boyfriend, Ray Olden, told the Miami Herald on Monday about her last words.
He said Logan’s friends told him the smiling woman was saying “Bye, Miami” just as she fell from the moving car. Earlier that day, the women went to the beach, grabbed food, went to a club.
Olden said he was called “the moment it happened, saying that my baby was gone, fell out the window and was hit by a car. I started screaming and they were crying and said they had to call her sisters and that they were so sorry,” Olden said.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, an unknown male driver in a Range Rover was traveling behind the Hyundai when Logan fell onto the road. The Range Rover ran over Logan once, the FHP said.
Police noted that the driver stopped briefly, but then took off. He left no information. The case is being investigated as a traffic homicide.
Police are looking into whether alcohol was a factor in the tragedy.
FHP investigators have talked to witnesses. But cops say they won’t get any help from the state’s surveillance cameras posted along the highway.
The cameras run by the state Department of Transportation stream traffic information in real time. They do not record images for viewing later.
“It’s going to be hard for investigators,” said FHP spokesman Alejandro Camacho. They “only livestream. It’s too much data to record.”
Details about what witnesses said they saw “won’t be available for at least 90 days” pending the investigation, Camacho said. FHP declined to say whether there were witnesses other than the three women left in the rental car.
The friends riding in the car with Logan were Trina Frazier, 24; Aaliyah Frazier, 23 and Kenyatta Burch, 23.
“I’m still grieving,” said Burch, Logan’s friend of 12 years. “I lost my best friend, my sister. Blood cannot make us closer.”
The other two women declined to comment.
Olden says the women, who were celebrating Burch’s birthday, “were having a great time” at the beach, restaurants and clubs. They rented Jet Skis, stayed in a hotel in Miami Beach and rented a car.
“They are devastated, as am I. There’s just a silence in the air. It’s not real yet,” Olden said. He said he was in a relationship with Logan for about a year, and were discussing marriage. They had a cruise planned for August.
“She brought energy and life. She never looked at the bad. I was told I was a special man and she made me believe it,” Olden said. “We had the next five years mapped out.”
Logan worked as a mental health technician at a nonprofit in Waukegan, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. Her family and friends say they are trying to round up money to “ship her body back to Chicago.”
“As if dealing with this loss and heartbreak, now we have to figure out how to send her home. It’s expensive. It’s a nightmare,” Burch said.
After the tragedy and investigation, three of the four women who had been in the car traveled on to the airport.
They boarded a plane. And they headed back home.