Florida Woman Reports Drunk Driver, Gets Crashed Into Herself

report a drunk driverPolice encourage concerned citizens to report a drunk driver by dialing 911, but there are always a few warnings attached: driving behind or beside someone who is driving drunk can be extremely dangerous, so when you decide to report a drunk driver you should keep a safe distance, describe the landmarks around you, and always defer to the dispatcher’s advice about what to do once you’ve relayed the information.

A woman in Fort Myers, Florida might be wishing she’d done just that after she called in to report a drunk driver recently. She dialed 911 around two in the afternoon after spotting someone who was driving erratically, and she and her two passengers followed along behind the driver for nine minutes while her friend filmed the suspected drunk driver for Facebook Live.

After they witnessed the drunk driver crash into a bridge wall on a busy highway, they decided to pull the car right in front of the drunk driver’s car to stop her from crashing into someone. When she did that she made the drunk driver put on the brakes and stop right in the center of the road, but instead of stoppping she drove her car straight into the witness’s vehicle.

It’s tragic irony that the person who reported her for drunk driving was crashed into by that very same driver, and thankfully no one was seriously injured. For her part the drunk driver was charged with driving under the influence, driving on a suspended license, driving without insurance, and careless driving.

The witness was praised by police for calling 911, but they’d like to send out a strong advisory to anyone who might be tempted to do the same thing: it’s dangerous to stop a drunk driver on your own, so get the license plate, location, and any other information on the vehicle, but don’t put your life at risk trying to prevent them from driving.

You Just Don’t Want A Drunk Driving Charge When Your Kids Are Along

drunk driving chargeWhen you’re under the influence of alcohol, there’s no telling what you’ll do. That might be why so many parents make the wrong decision and drive under the influence with their kids in the car.

People watch for erratic drivers on the roads, and they pay even more attention if you’re driving erratically and someone spots a child in the back seat of your car. One woman in West Palm Beach, Florida discovered that for herself when a tow truck driver noticed her driving on the road beside him.

Right before she pulled out of traffic she decided to flip the tow truck driver off. He thought she might be driving under the influence and he spotted a set of toddler feet crawling around the back seat of the car, so he gave chase.

As he drove behind her he saw she almost hit a pedestrian and other vehicles. When police arrived and pulled her over, they found she was so drunk she could barely stand up. They also found a small child, unrestrained, in the back of the vehicle.

She was arrested on a drunk driving charge, and she’ll also be charged with child abuse. What would have been good for her to know before she did this was that Florida will enhance DUI penalties for any parent who drinks and drives with a child under the age of 18 in their vehicle. You can receive up to nine months in jail for a first drunk driving arrest, and if you ignore the law and keep driving drunk with your kids, you could spend a year or more in jail.

Anyone who puts the keys in the car after drinking is making the wrong choice, and just like this parent discovered,  there are sober drivers on the roads that are watching.

Florida DUI Case Topic Of Supreme Court Challenge

Florida DUI caseA Florida DUI case will usually hit the docket within a few months of someone’s drunk driving arrest, but it’s not unheard of for a case to drag on for a year or more depending on how overburdened the court system is in the state.

It’s also not unheard of for someone arrested for drunk driving to contest their arrest, but one Florida DUI case may hit the record books for length of time it’s taken to contest a legal ruling. The defendant in this case is John Goodman, a Palm Beach County, Florida millionaire who was convicted of DUI manslaughter.

He was arrested for DUI on February 12th , 2010 after he ran a stop sign and crashed into the vehicle of Scott Patrick Wilson. Wilson was only 23 years old at the time, and the impact of the crash sent his vehicle into a nearby canal where he drowned.

When police took Goodman’s blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the crash, they found he was almost double the legal limit of .08. He was convicted of DUI manslaughter in 2012 and sentenced to 16 years in prison, but he remained free on bail pending his appeal. He finally went to jail in October 2014 after a judge reinstated his original prison sentence and required him to begin serving it immediately.

Goodman didn’t stop there. Because he believed there were specific problems with testing rules and procedures, he sought to exclude his blood-alcohol test results. He took his case to an administrative law judge, the Fourth District Court of Appeal, and now he’s taking it all the way to the Supreme Court of Florida.

He and his lawyers don’t believe implied consent should apply in a Florida DUI case. Implied consent is an understanding that, if you accept a driver’s license in your state, you agree to submit to blood, breath, or urine tests should a police officer suspect you of drunk driving. This type of testing is regulated for reliability, and that’s why these test results are able to stand up in court time and time again.

Will Goodman’s DUI case pass muster with the Supreme Court of Florida? Given that every other court has turned him down, his odds aren’t great. What this case will do is one of two things: establish that the court believes that implied consent is alive and well in Florida, or it will show the state of Florida they have more work to do when they process drunk drivers.

You Can Do A Lot Of Damage Before Your Florida DUI Arrest

arrested for drunk driving in Florida A lot of people get behind the wheel of a car and are arrested for drunk driving in Florida because they ask themselves one question before they drive: what’s the worst that could happen? Unfortunately, thanks to the alcohol they’ve just consumed, the answer to that question is usually wrong.

A lot can happen from the moment you put the keys in the ignition to the moment you’re arrested for drunk driving in Florida, and for one driver in Osceola County, the worst case scenario included smashing into 17 cars when trying to park his SUV.

The drunk driver was heading home to a gated community at four in the morning when he decided to skip the gate code and crash his way through. He rammed into the gate and then drove around in circles smashing into cars as he went. In all he damaged 17 vehicles in eight separate crashes, and some of the residents reported over $2,000 in damage.

When police arrived they discovered  he smelt of alcohol, refused to submit to a breathalyzer, and was not interested in being arrested, but he did calm down after they pepper sprayed him. It turns out this wasn’t his first brush with drunk driving. He had his driver’s license suspended for drunk driving in 2013.

What’s the worst that can happen when you have a few drinks and get behind the wheel? In this case, one man is responsible for smashing up 17 vehicles, but it could have turned out far worse. If they weren’t parked cars and people were inside, he could have easily injured or killed someone, all because he was trying to get home after a night out drinking.

It’s just one more crazy drunk driving story in Florida, and one more reason why Florida needs to get tough on drunk drivers by passing an all offender ignition interlock law. This Florida drunk driver has, thankfully, been taken off the roads, but there are many more just like him out there and the only way to stop them is an interlock.

How many drunk driving crashes like this one will it take for Florida lawmakers to pass that law?

This Impaired Driving Crash Destroyed The Driver’s Family

impaired driving crashEvery impaired driving crash is tragic, but crashes that involve children are even more so. Children have no understanding that a car can turn into a deadly weapon when put in the hands of a drunk driver, and all too often when a parent makes the choice to drink and drive their children end up paying the price.

That’s the horrible lesson an Omaha family must now pay after a father drove drunk with his kids in the car. He crashed with his three daughters in the back of the vehicle, but he didn’t stop to find out if they were OK. Instead, he kept on driving while dumping alcohol containers out of the car.

His three children were seriously injured, but he didn’t stop to get them help. Aged eight, six, and one, they would have had no idea what hit them. When he was finally pulled over by police a short time later they discovered that he had injured passengers on board, and they also discovered he had four previous DUI convictions on his record.

He was charged with drunk driving, three counts of child abuse, and one count of failing to render aid. For his impaired driving crash he was sentenced to 22 to 25 years in prison, but he’s lost a lot more than just the time he’ll spend in jail.

Thanks to the crash, his eight-year-old daughter is in a persistent vegetative state and doctors believe she’ll never recover. That’s not something any amount of time in jail or any type of Nebraska drunk driving penalty can fix.

Because her father drove drunk, a child’s life is essentially over. It happens all too often when people make the choice to have a few drinks and put the keys in the ignition, and no one wants to be the parent responsible for a situation like this.

If you want to protect your children, the best thing any parent can do is to pledge to always drive sober.

Florida Ranks 17 In WalletHub’s Top 20 Strictest States For DUI

strictest states for duiEvery year Wallethub releases its list of states that are harshest and most lenient on DUI, and this year’s list includes a list of states that are fairly consistently ranked in the top 20 strictest states for drunk driving.

What’s surprising is that Florida, a state that has more than its fair share of crazy drunk driving stories, has earned the 17th spot this year.

If Florida would like to move up on the list, here’s how Florida penalties contrast with Arizona, the state that ranks number one in the strictest states for DUI.

No minimum jail time for a first offender in Florida

Florida doesn’t require minimum jail time for a first DUI offense. Arizona, on the other hand, requires any first offender to spend 10 days in jail.

Repeat offenders in Florida receive 10 days in jail

Jail time is required for a second offense in Florida, while Arizona requires up to 90 days of jail time for a second DUI offense.

A third DUI offense is a felony

Just like in Arizona, Florida has required that a third DUI offense is an automatic felony.

The lookback period in Florida is 10 years

How long should the lookback period, when a previous DUI is still relevant to a new conviction, be for all states? Like most states, Florida sticks to the 10 year rule, and Arizona lags behind by requiring only seven years for the DUI to wash out.

Driver’s license suspensions

Florida actually has a longer administrative driver’s license suspension than Arizona does: 180 days for a first offense compared to Arizona’s 90 days for a first offense.

Ignition interlocks for all offenders

Florida could make a huge leap on the list if they required ignition interlocks for first offenders. Unfortunately, a bill that could have done this in Florida died before it managed to work its way through the proper channels. Arizona does require interlocks for all offenders, and has been watching their DUI stats fall for many years because of it.

Florida, with its vacation vibe and golf cart transportation system, has always had a serious problem with DUI. It’s struggled within its penalty system to deal with its drunk driving offenders, and if the ranking for the strictest states for DUI shows lawmakers and law enforcement anything, it’s that there’s a lot of room to improve.

This Florida Drunk Driver Took To The Beach, Literally

Florida drunk driverWhat do you do when you’re in Florida and you want to go to the beach? Most people would pack a beach bag, grab some sunscreen, and head out for a day of fun and sun. But when you’re a Florida drunk driver, you aren’t thinking like most people, and if you want to go to the beach you just get in your car and drive right onto it.

Ryan Stiles was driving his jeep toward Clearwater Beach near Tampa when he decided he was going to open up Facebook and stream his drive via Facebook Live. People watching him saw that he was driving and he was drinking whiskey and beer at the same time, but viewers really sat up and paid attention when he did a turn and hit the beach, literally.

Stiles drove straight onto Clearwater Beach from a dead-end street, an area with no road access of any kind, and began driving toward Caladesi Island. Imagine the surprise of people relaxing on blankets and beach chairs as the jeep spun along the sand toward them.

He was still streaming to Facebook Live at this point, and that’s when the 911 calls began to come in to police. He was hitting high speeds, purposely crashing into objects, and talking about ending his life and going out with a bang by crashing into a police cruiser.

When police arrived they gave chase, right down the beach, and when they finally managed to apprehend him, he didn’t go easily. They told a local news agency that he smashed the glass in the holding cell until it fractured.

A Florida drunk driver can do enough damage on the roads, but in a state where anything goes, it’s not surprising that someone finally decided to take a drunk drive on the beach. Thankfully no one was hurt, and it’s just another crazy drunk driving story to add to the books in Florida.

Tiger Woods May Enter Florida Diversion Program

Florida Diversion ProgramBy now everyone has heard about how Tiger Woods was picked up by police after he was found passed out on the side of the road. Now he may be skipping the status of being a first offender in Florida by entering the Florida Diversion Program.

When Woods was arrested he stated he had not been drinking and his breathalyzer results confirmed that because both tests given turned up zero readings. He was still charged with DUI, and it was discovered that he was driving under the influence of pain killers and sleeping pills. In Florida like most other states, that makes him just as much of an impaired driver as anyone who’s driving over .08.

When his case appeared in front of a judge recently, Woods’ lawyer entered a plea of not guilty to the charge of drunk driving in Florida. Entering that plea may take him out of the running to receive the typical penalties for a first offender – jail time, driver’s license suspension, and the possibility of an ignition interlock if you blow over 0.15 BAC, and allow him to enter the Florida Diversion program.

If Tiger Woods enters the Florida Diversion program he’s in for a long 12 months. The terms and conditions of the program are harsh for anyone. The good news is that he won’t lose his driver’s license and he’ll be able to drive normally. The bad news? He’ll have to abstain from alcohol and drugs as well as comply with the following:

  • He’ll need to drive with an ignition interlock for three to six months
  • He’ll be on probation for one year
  • Must pay fines up to $500
  • He’ll need to complete DUI school and do up to 75 hours of community service
  • He may need to submit to random urine testing

At the end of the 12-month program Woods will have a clean driving record with no evidence that he’s had a DUI at all. But if he fails the program or registers a violation in any way, he could spend up to 90 days in jail.

The Florida Diversion Program is a smart choice for anyone charged with drunk driving in the state. It may be difficult to work through, even Tiger Woods, but it’s the only way to keep a DUI off your permanent record.

 

This Is Not The Way To Avoid A Golf Cart DUI

golf cart duiThere is a golf cart DUI problem in Florida that’s been growing steadily over the past few years, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.

It’s definitely not as severe as drunk driving in cars, trucks, or boats, but it’s still bad enough that people are severely injured thanks to someone mixing alcohol and driving a golf cart.

If you want an example of what can happen if you drink and drive on a golf cart, just ask a man who was  arrested recently in Wildwood, Florida. He was visiting his parents in a gated Florida community when he asked his dad if he could borrow his golf cart to go to the local bar. After spending some time there he left the bar with a woman, and as they were driving home together she fell off the golf cart.

The driver couldn’t lift her and she couldn’t stand on her own, so he decided to drag her to a median and lay her down in the bushes. That’s where he left her, and despite the fact that she was bloody and clearly injured, he didn’t bother to call 911 or get help in any way.

Thankfully someone saw her there and did call the police, and it’s a good thing they did. She was suffering from life-threatening injuries. Those injuries may be why the police found the driver with blood all over his clothing.

That’s not really something you want to explain to your dad when you return his golf cart, but police may have done the explaining for him: after the suspect was arrested for golf cart DUI and hit and run, he was taken to jail. Unfortunately the victim in this case died of her injuries a few days later, and although he hasn’t been charged yet, he may be answering for a lot more than drunken golf cart DUI.

It’s one more crazy drunk driving story for the Florida record books, and it goes to show how dangerous a golf cart can be and how the Florida golf cart DUI issue isn’t going to disappear anytime soon.

NSC Hands Out An “F” For Florida Drunk Driving Crashes

florida drunk driving Florida drunk driving crashes and arrests have kept the state solidly near the bottom of the list of states who take a strong stand against drunk driving. With drunk drivers ruling the roads in the Sunshine State, it’s not surprising that the National Safety Council (NSC) has given Florida an F rating in road safety.

In the report “The State of Safety: A State-by-State Report” the NSC highlights which states are doing well with road, community, home, and workplace safety, and it also puts a spotlight on states that aren’t where they should be for things like drunk driving, drugged driving, and workplace incidences like falls.

In terms of road safety, and that includes Florida drunk driving crashes and arrests, Florida received an F grade from the NSC. It wasn’t at the very bottom of the list, ranking 44th out of 50 states, but Florida roads were the venue for almost 3,000 traffic crash deaths in 2015.

A few issues that made the NSC give Florida an F rating include:

• Florida doesn’t require ignition interlocks for all offenders
Distracted driving is still a major issue as there is no total cellphone ban for all drivers
• Seat belts aren’t required by all passengers in all seated positions in a vehicle

Florida could make great strides to overcome their NSC letter grade if they did one thing: pass an all offender ignition interlock law. An all offender bill was recently on the table and it did pass through a few committees, but it died before it could gain any traction.

If Florida had passed an interlock law this year they would have joined 30 other states who have also passed this life saving law, and with other bills in other states scheduled for hearings in upcoming sessions, Florida doesn’t need an F grade from the NSC to show it’s really lagging behind in terms of road safety.

In this case, F doesn’t stand for Florida; it stands for failure. Let’s hope 2018 is the year the state gets its act together and makes an attempt to fix these issues.

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