Teen Dies in Fort Lauderdale Hit-and-Run Accident, Driver Faces DUI Manslaughter Charges
A Fort Lauderdale teen was killed in a hit-and-run accident on New Year’s Day. Now authorities have determined that the driver who allegedly struck the victim should be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) – even though no Breathalyzer test was administered by law enforcement.
The tragic hit-and-run accident occurred just after 8:30 p.m. on Powerline Road. The victim, a 19-year-old resident of Fort Lauderdale, FL, was riding his bicycle in the right lanes of the road and headed south when he approached the 6700 block. As he continued to ride his bike southbound, the bicyclist was struck from behind by a motor vehicle.
After the accident, the driver of the car sped off and failed to stop or offer assistance of any kind to the injured bicyclist. Witnesses dialed 911 and alerted local law enforcement, which sent police officers and emergency medical responders to the scene. The victim was subsequently transported to a local hospital, where he underwent surgery and was initially listed in critical condition. Two days later, on January 3, 2017, the victim died as a result of injuries sustained in the bicycle accident.
Police Locate and Arrest Suspect in Fatal Hit-and-Run Accident on Fort Lauderdale Road
Meanwhile, Fort Lauderdale detectives investigated the hit-and-run accident and spoke with witnesses. One witness had a great deal of information because they reportedly followed the vehicle after the collision and got the license plate number. Another witness told police that she saw the suspect showing signs of intoxication while in the parking lot of a Marathon gas station located on Glades Road in Boca Raton, Florida. That witness also reportedly followed the suspect’s vehicle to an apartment complex in Delray Beach, FL. Authorities later confirmed that the suspect lives in the complex.
The suspect is a 28-year-old man from Long Island NY who currently resides in Delray Beach, Florida. He has been charged with numerous crimes in connection with the fatal accident, including DUI manslaughter, DUI with property damage, leaving the scene of an accident involving death, and leaving the scene of an accident with property damage. Additionally, the Broward State Attorney’s Office could still file more criminal charges in the weeks ahead.
If the suspect ultimately goes to trial, he would be subject to severe penalties. That’s because DUI manslaughter is a very serious offense and typically results in a 10-year prison sentence. Moreover, the minimum mandatory sentence for a person convicted of DUI manslaughter in Florida is four years behind bars.
While the criminal charges against the suspect remain pending, he is being held in the Broward County Jail.
DUI Charges for Intoxicated Motorists in Florida
The suspect in the fatal accident on New Year’s Day has been charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) despite the fact that police officers never administered a breath test or drew blood for a blood test. That’s because Florida law allows police to arrest a person for drunk driving when a police officer observes signs of intoxication.
In this case, the arresting officer talked to the suspect more than three hours after the car accident and allegedly noticed that the suspect’s speech was slow and slurred. Additionally, the officer reportedly smelled “a strong odor of alcohol” on the suspect’s breath. That was enough for prosecutors to bring DUI charges against the suspect.
If you were injured in a drunk driving accident in Florida, you need to speak with a qualified personal injury attorney immediately. The experienced personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Russ E. Robbins, P.A. can help you get compensated for your injuries. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.