A 19-year-old young man died Monday, April 21st of injuries suffered in an April 9 hit-and-run crash involving a serial DUI driver. Prior to this accident, the defendant had five DUI convictions, according to police and court records. He told police he had DUI convictions in Oklahoma, Jacksonville and Nassau County, his arrest report said. Florida records show the Defendant driver was convicted of DUI in Nassau County in 2009 and received a six-month suspension of his license; convicted of refusing to submit to a breath test in 2010 and got a year suspension; and convicted of DUI in Jacksonville in 2012, when another year suspension was levied. He also was convicted in the middle of the last sentence for driving with a suspended license. Records for the other convictions were not immediately available.
In the April 9th accident, the defendant is charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in an injury and without rendering aid. The charge is now likely to be upgraded and could also be enhanced upon the return of results from a blood draw, which police were forced to get using a search warrant after he refused to give a sample voluntarily.
The defendant also is being detained for failing to register as a sex offender in Tennessee. His total bail is $675,000.
The 19 year old male was driving east on Gate Parkway when the defendant began to turn left into the parking lot of Thornton Park Apartments. The report said the defendant failed to yield the right of way to the young man, whose motorcycle struck the front end of the car. Police said the defendant drove into the apartment complex, stopped near the clubhouse, exited his car, walked a few feet and then ran back to the car. He drove further into the complex, parked and started walking, police said. His female passenger told police the defendant was driving the car, and they had been at the Pier Restaurant. She said in the report that she told the defendant she wanted to check on the motorcyclist, but he told her not to “because we have been drinking.” The defendant told police he was driving at the time of the crash and he saw the motorcycle, but did not remember what lane it was in. He said he’d drank two margaritas at the Pier Restaurant and also said he went to the World of Beer, but didn’t drink there, according to the report. Then he said he moved his car back his girlfriends’ apartment because “it would be more visible,” the arrest report said. He told police he was walking back to the scene and that’s when police found him.
If you drink alcohol and drive you dramatically increase your chance of being in a crash. In addition, if you are pulled over and the officer asks you to take a blood, urine or breath test you are required to comply. Florida has the “Implied Consent Law”. When you sign your drivers license you have agreed to take these tests upon request. Refusal to take any of the tests will result in an immediate suspension for one year. A second refusal will result in an 18 month suspension.
According to Florida DMV records there were 33,625 DUI convictions in Florida in 2011. Of the 55,722 DUI tickets issued in Florida in 2011 – 9,328 were issued by the FHP, 23,649 were issued by police departments in Florida, and 21,868 were issued by Florida Sheriffs departments.
As even a recent article posted on First Coast News website, how could someone who had multiple DUIs, be able to drive, or even have a drivers license. It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out.
Click here to read the law on driving under the influence and the penalties that are incurred: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.193.html