Two People Killed During a Wrong-Way Car Crash in Tampa
In a strange twist to an already tragic incident, the Tampa prosecutors of a drunk driving accident case now believe that the suspect in the center of it all has been exaggerating the extent of his mental illness in order to receive a lighter sentence.
Nearly five years after the original auto accident occurred, Anwar Askar finally appeared in virtual court earlier this week to face two charges of DUI manslaughter and two charges of vehicular homicide for his alleged involvement in a wrong-way collision that claimed the lives of 33-year-old Jesus Emanuel Lanzo and 33-year-old Carlos Angler Quinones Perez back in 2016.
According to Hillsborough County arrest records, Anwar Askar, who was 54-years-old at the time, was under the influence of alcohol while driving his vehicle at a high rate of speed in the wrong direction down the Selmon Expressway. As Askar approached the Independence Parkway Exit shortly before 2:30 in the morning, he rear-ended 33-year-old Jesus Emanuel Lanzo and his 33-year-old passenger Carlos Angler Quinones Perez who were traveling in a Pontiac sedan-style vehicle. The force of impact from the collision caused the Pontiac to slam into a set of concrete barriers and burst into flames. Both occupants were killed. Although he sustained severe injuries during the accident, Askar was arrested on charges of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide.
After many attempts at a plea bargain, Anwar Askar was reportedly deemed incompetent to stand trial and he was sent to a state mental facility for an evaluation. Officials at the hospital eventually ruled him “fit to proceed” and he was subsequently released on his own recognizance. However, just a short time after his release, he ended up back at the facility for undisclosed reasons and allegedly refused to take any medication. Now, Mr. Askar’s defense attorney is stating that his client does in fact suffer from a mental illness and should therefore be sentenced to a psychiatric treatment center instead of prison.
Before he proceeds with his ruling surrounding the alleged malingering, Tampa judge Mark Kiser has asked for a second opinion regarding the defendant’s mental health status, which should take approximately two months to achieve.
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.