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South Florida Drunk Driver Gets 15 Years Prison

By medical standards, the driver had been so drunk he should have been on the verge of unconsciousness.

Our Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers understand the North Dade driver’s blood-alcohol content measured a startling 0.332 percent – four times the legal limit – when his pickup truck careened into a group of people waiting for the bus stop on Northwest 79th Street.

Two people were killed, including a 21-year-old man pronounced dead at the scene and a 55-year-old man who died a month later at the hospital, after being paralyzed from the neck down.

The driver then left the two for dead as he hurried away from the scene.

He might never have been found, had it not been for the swift actions of a county employee. The worker witnessed the carnage and trailed the drunk driver as he sped away and then nudged his vehicle off the road with his own so that police would be able to catch him.

For his reckless – and heartless – disregard for human life, he will serve 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to a number of charges, including DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident involving deaths. In accepting a plea deal, he may have spared the families the ordeal of a criminal trial, but probably only because the evidence against him was overwhelming.

Every day in this country, approximately 30 people are killed as a result of crashes involving at least one drunk driver. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control report that DUI wrecks account for about one-third of all traffic deaths in the country, about 10,300 annually.

The number of injuries are far greater. There were approximately 1.5 million drivers arrested for DUI in 2010. That sounds like a lot until you consider it’s only 1 percent of the 112 million U.S. adults who self-reported having driven drunk in the last year.

Like this man, those who are involved in fatal crashes are more likely to have a much higher blood-alcohol content.

To give you an idea of how intoxicated this man was, consider a recent study by researchers at Michigan State University. A person who is driving at the legal limit of 0.08 percent might have a lowered level of alertness, a slightly reduced capacity for judgment and reasoning and an elevated risk of poor decision making. At four times that amount, a person who has a blood alcohol level of 0.25 to 0.34 percent would have an increased threshold for pain, impaired consciousness, loss of motor functions, abolished reflexes, impairment of respiration and circulation, inability to walk or talk, and an inability to control bowel movements. Any higher than that, we are talking about someone who would be non-responsive and likely unconscious.

Driving drunk is not an “accident.” It is a choice. Those who make that choice should expect to be held accountable. Our Fort Lauderdale DUI accident attorneys can help.

Call Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:
Man in North Dade double DUI hit-run crash pleads guilty, to serve 15 years, March 25, 2013, By David Ovalle, The Miami Herald

More Blog Entries:
“Party Princess” Arrested for DUI Manslaughter in South Florida, Feb. 15, 2013, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer Blog

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