LEE COUNTY, Fla. (January 9, 2020) — Lee County law enforcement officers arrested a sixteen-year-old male for driving under the influence along with unlawful possession of fentanyl after the driver refused to stop for sheriff’s deputies. The deputies gave chase after observing the suspect driving dangerously, almost crashing into several cars. According to an article appearing on NBC-2’s website, the driver crashed the suspect vehicle and fled. A police K9 stopped the fleeing driver, and deputies subsequently placed him under arrest. The additional investigation conducted by the police showed that the driver of the fleeing vehicle was intoxicated and had fentanyl in the car. The 25-year-old passenger of the fleeing vehicle also had fentanyl on his person. Deputies arrested that individual as well.
The dramatic car chase that crossed Lee County and ended when the driver crashed his car into a ditch began when a sheriff’s deputies attempted to stop the driver for suspicion of DUI. The deputy saw the driver swerving and almost crash several times near the intersection of U.S. 41 and Carrell Road in Lee County. The deputy made these observations around midnight. The deputy pursued the driver as the driver blew through two red lights and also drove on the wrong side of the road. The feeling driver almost crashed head-on into drivers coming in the opposite direction.
The vehicle pursuit ended when the driver lost control over the vehicle and crashed into a roadside ditch in the vicinity of Pine Island Road and Cultural Park Boulevard in Cape Coral. The operator jumped out of the vehicle after the crash and ran from the scene. The pursuing deputy unleashed his K9 partner and the police dog apprehended the suspect.
Lee County deputies continued to investigate the incident. Their investigation determined that the fleeing motorist was under the influence of alcohol. Police also seized fentanyl from him and the passenger as well.
Florida Statutes Section 316.193 is the state’s DUI law. Section 316.193 provides alternate theories for which a person could be convicted of DUI. The state’s attorney must prove that the suspect drove while his or her normal faculties were impaired or, evidence of a breath test or a blood test shows that the driver had an alcohol level of 0.08% or above.
The penalties listed for a DUI conviction in Florida depend on the severity of the crime. For a first-time offender, the person will face up to six months incarceration, a fine between $500.00 and $1,000.00, and up to one year of probation. A sentencing judge may order the offender to complete community service and attend an alcohol safety program as special conditions of probation.
Possible penalties for a conviction of a second DUI offense would include ten-days of incarceration in the county jail if the previous conviction entered within the last five years. Also, the sentencing judge could order the offender to complete 180 days to 1 year of probation, install an interlocking device on the ignition, and up to five years of driver's license suspension.
A third conviction for DUI in Florida could be a third-degree felony if the most recent conviction occurred within the last ten years. The conviction offender faces between 30 days in jail or five years in state prison, large fines, and driver’s license suspension for no longer than ten years.