A 52-year-old man was out for an enjoyable Saturday afternoon motorcycle ride in Polk County when a drunk driver took his life, according to media reports. He was obeying the law and came into contact with a man who was legally drunk and breaking the law at the time of the accident.
Steven “Bear” Lazzell was riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle eastbound on Johnson Ave on October 12, 2014 in Haines City. Steven Maffia was headed westbound on Johnson Ave. Law enforcement officials say Maffia, who was driving a 2000 Chrysler Concord, used a turning lane in the middle of the road to pass a vehicle traveling in the same direction, which is against the law.
Lazzell was in the turning lane and facing the opposite direction as Maffia. He was obeying the law, as he was preparing to turn left. Maffia hit Lazzell’s Harley-Davidson head on. The impact caused Lazzell’s bike to change direction, and Lazzell was tossed from the motorcycle. Lazzell came to rest about 30 feet from the impact and the motorcycle stopped about 100 feet from where the crash occurred.
Maffia’s vehicle continued in the same direction for about 200 feet and then crossed the westbound lane. The vehicle came to rest in a ditch. Maffia was pulled from the vehicle by a witness. The Chrysler caught fire and had to be extinguished with a fire extinguisher.
Lazzell, a truck driver and father of three, who was wearing a helmet, was pronounced dead at the scene. Maffia suffered minor injuries and was transported to Heart of Florida Hospital in Haines City.
Maffia was given a field sobriety test and failed. A blood test determined his blood alcohol level was 0.146, nearly twice the legal limit. An investigation was conducted and on November 29, Maffia was arrested and charged with DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide. He was booked into the Polk County Jail and held on a $60,000 bond.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident that was caused by a drunk driver, 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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