Police in Florida say excessive speed and alcohol impairment caused an accident in Hillsborough County during the early morning hours of Oct. 22 that claimed the life of a 21-year-old woman. A 21-year-old Tampa man has been charged with DUI manslaughter in connection with the deadly crash. The accident took place on the eastbound lanes of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near the entrance to Interstate 75 at approximately 1:00 a.m.
Pickup truck struck while turning
According to a Florida Highway patrol report, the man lost control of his car after striking a pickup truck that was making a left turn from the westbound lanes of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard onto Interstate 75. After striking the pickup truck, the man’s car spun across the roadway and collided with a crash barrier before coming to a halt on the shoulder. The man was injured in the accident and his female passenger was killed. Neither of them was wearing a seat belt according to media reports.
Victim’s name withheld
The 43-year-old man behind the wheel of the pickup truck was able to bring his vehicle to a controlled stop. He escaped the accident without injury. The man accused of causing the accident was transported to a nearby hospital to have his injuries treated. He was placed under arrest while recovering at the hospital. The name of the woman who was killed has not been released because of an amendment to the Florida Constitution passed by voters in 2018 to protect the identity of crime victims.
Deadly DUI accidents
A charge of DUI manslaughter carries severe penalties in Florida, but proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in these cases is sometimes challenging for prosecutors. In these situations, experienced criminal defense attorneys could challenge the validity of toxicology evidence or argue that a less serious charge would be more appropriate when the facts suggest that the accident in question may have been caused by a road hazard or the negligent actions of a third party.