Florida Highway Patrol troopers investigating a fatal hit-and-run bicycle accident in Avalon Park say that the 18-year-old man they arrested in connection with the accident was under the influence of synthetic marijuana when he struck and killed the 53-year-old victim. Troopers recently arrested the man on charges of fleeing the scene of a fatal accident, and he was booked into the Orange County Jail after submitting blood for testing at Florida Hospital. They say that the man was under the influence of drugs, possibly synthetic marijuana, when he struck and killed the bicyclist on Avalon Park Boulevard, near Tea Rose Drive.
Lt. Channing Taylor of the Florida Highway Patrol said, "I was told there was possible drug paraphernalia in his possession. We’re in the process of investigating that.”
Witnesses told troopers that after striking the bicyclist, the suspect’s car then hit a tree, which tore off one of the car’s wheels before the suspect attempted to flee.
"A couple of witnesses detained him, they didn’t go hands-on, but they told him he needed to stop and remain here, so he got quite a distance away," Lt. Taylor said.
The suspect is currently being held on $21,000 bail and faces DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide charges in addition to leaving the scene of a fatal accident.
Synthetic marijuana has been a very hot topic in Florida recently, and this is another in a series of incidents involving drivers who have caused accidents after consuming it. Also referred to as spice and other names, synthetic marijuana is a broad term used to describe many different designer compounds that produce a marijuana-like high when smoked. More than 400 different chemicals are used when manufacturing synthetic marijuana, and only a few of them are illegal in Florida. Police officers who arrest suspects high on synthetic marijuana say that they are prone to aggressive behavior and panic attacks while under the influence. While it is legal for now, many municipalities, including Broward County officials, are planning to enact bans against the product often sold in convenience stores.
Whether synthetic marijuana is legal or not, the suspect acted negligently and can be liable for damages his actions caused. The victim’s family could have an Orlando personal injury lawyer file a wrongful death lawsuit against the suspect and sue for a variety of damages, including loss of financial support, pain and suffering, funeral expenses and others. If your family has lost a loved one due to negligence and you would like to speak with an Orlando wrongful death attorney to learn more about your legal options, call James O. Cunningham today at 800-425-2004 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
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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