A 43-year-old elementary school teacher was arrested last month and charged with DUI manslaughter in connection with a fatal January crash that killed a 75-year-old man and injured his 76-year-old wife.
Police believe the man had oxycodone in his system when his 1992 Cadillac allegedly ran a red light and smashed into a Spring Hill, Florida couple’s Toyota on Jan 3.
The female passenger in the Toyota suffered fractures of her left arm, sternum, hip and pelvis. The male passenger was killed.
The driver of the Cadillac was not seriously injured.
The man has no previous criminal record and joined the Hernando school district as an exceptional teacher in 1997. He has been on leave from his position with the school since February.
At a hearing Thursday morning, the man’s bail was reduced from $61,000 to $30,500. As of Thursday afternoon, he remained in the Hernando County Detention Center.
Any person that is suspected by law enforcement of driving under the influence of drugs, even if they have a valid prescription, can be charged with DUI. In the state of Florida, it is illegal to operate a vehicle if your normal faculties are impaired by alcohol, drugs or medications prescribed by a doctor. While a DUI charge is a serious offense carrying strict penalties, when an accident results in the death of another person, DUI manslaughter can be charged. DUI manslaughter is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison that also carries a minimum mandatory prison sentence if convicted.
In any DUI manslaughter case, there are serious questions that need to be answered immediately, including:
• Did the accused actually contribute to or cause the accident?
• Is it possible that a mechanical problem or other factor caused the accident?
• Was the accused impaired by alcohol, drugs or prescription medications at the time they were operating a vehicle?
• Was a breath or blood test lawfully obtained by law enforcement?
• How accurate are the results of any breath or blood test?
The Florida DUI Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can gain the answers to these initial questions by thoroughly investigating your DUI charges. We utilize accident reconstructionists and expert toxicologists to gather critical data so that favorable evidence can be preserved to combat DUI allegations made by the State. We can sort through any issues unique to your DUI case and begin the communication process with the state and the victim’s family. It is extremely important to consult with an attorney as early in the process as possible to achieve the best possible resolution for your DUI manslaughter charges.
If you were involved in an accident in Florida and are accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance or a chemical substance, contact the Florida DUI Defense Lawyers at the Law Offices of Whittel & Melton, LLC online or contact our Spring Hill office at 352-666-2121 or dial us statewide and toll-free at 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).