LAKELAND, FL - According to an online news report published by DailyRidge.com and other news sources, a man and woman from Haines City, Florida, has been arrested and charged in for causing a fatal, DUI-related accident. The fatal collision occurred in the morning hours on August 8, 2020. The 43-year-old male has been charged with several crimes, such as reckless driving with serious injury, DUI manslaughter, driving without a license, and vehicular homicide. The 38-year-old female was arrested and charged with resisting arrest and witness tampering criminal charges.
According to the news reports, the male suspect was driving a Toyota Corolla northbound along U.S. 27 at approximately 3 a.m. on August 8, 2020. The investigation concluded that the suspect was driving very fast. The news story states that the suspect tried to turn off the road on to the East U.S. 17/92 exit. The suspect failed to make the turn, and the car went off the side of the exit ramp. The vehicle then began to slide on the grass for approximately 100 feet and then struck a tree. The accident forces split the Toyota Corrolla into two pieces down the middle of the car. The front portion of the Toyota stopped on the northern part of the road, and the back half stopped sliding at the south side of the road. Tragically, one of the passengers, a 30-year-old woman, who was riding in the back seat of the Toyota Corolla, was killed.
The report states that as law enforcement officers arrived at the scene of the auto accident, the suspect who was driving the car appeared to the officers that he had been walking around after the accident and then fell face down. The suspect was believed to have "passed out" and was lying about 50 feet from the car.
The suspect allegedly informed the law enforcement officers at the scenes that they were returning from a sports bar & grill. Law enforcement noted that the male suspect also had an injury to his left shoulder. This injury, and to that side of the man's body, showed that he was wearing the driver's side seatbelt at the time of the accident. Therefore, the male suspect was the driver at the time of the collision. The male suspect eventually told law enforcement that he was driving the car at the time of the accident, but at first, he blamed the female suspect for driving the car and causing the accident.
All of the injured passengers were taken to the Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center, and then they were released after treatment of their non-life-threatening injuries. The driver's blood was drawn and tested for alcohol. The results came back with a blood-alcohol level of .187. The legal limit in Florida, for drivers 21 or older, is under 0.08. The report also alleges that the suspect contacted one of the sports bar employees and told the employee to provide a false statement to law enforcement by stating to investigators that the other suspect was driving the car.