In 2012, Ernest Alan Smith was riding his motorcycle northbound on Tomoka Farms Road in the Samsula area. Smith, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, was a security guard at a local hospice organization and was headed to work. A Ford Bronco, driven by Chadwick Dean Vogt, was traveling in the opposite direction and turned in front of Smith with tragic results.
Smith was thrown from his bike and was pronounced dead at the scene. It was determined at the time of the accident that Vogt violated Smith’s right-of-way and caused the accident. Law enforcement at the scene of accident smelled alcohol on Vogt’s breath and an empty beer can was found in Vogt’s car. A blood sample was taken at the time of the accident to determine the level of alcohol in Vogt’s blood. Voigt said he had only consumed two beers.
The test showed that Voigt had a blood alcohol level of .26 percent. That is more than three times the legal limit of .08 percent. He was charged with DUI and DUI manslaughter. It was not his first brush with the law, which likely played a role in the judge’s decision. Voigt had been convicted of a previous DUI as well as solicitation of a prostitute and prior reckless driving.
Voigt was found guilty of DUI manslaughter, a second-degree felony, in April. A jury deliberated for less than two hours before rendering the verdict. Perhaps, they understood the severity of the crime and the devastation drinking had caused Smith’s family. Voigt was immediately placed in custody after the conviction.
Testimony at the sentencing was emotional. Two of the victim’s brothers testified about the psychological scars the death had on the family and their brother’s love of motorcycles.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Florida automobile accident, contact the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A. immediately at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587) for a free initial consultation.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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