An appeals court has issued a ruling overturning a conviction in a case involving a driver who was sentenced to 12 years in prison on a DUI manslaughter charge in connection with a fatal motorcycle accident in 2007. An Orange County jury found that the man had been driving drunk around 2:30 a.m. on his way home to Apopka when he pulled out in front of a motorcyclist and caused a fatal accident. However, in the recent ruling, the Fifth District Court of Appeal overturned the conviction, saying that while the defendant was intoxicated that morning when he caused the accident, the 29-year-old victim was also at fault. Evidence suggested that the victim had “popped a wheelie” at the time of the accident, causing his headlight to point skyward, effectively making him invisible to the driver.
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.
Circuit Judge Wayne Wooten recently announced a sentence in a case involving a DUI accident that claimed the life of a two-year-old girl on Aug. 5, 2009. The 39-year-old driver convicted in the case received a 16-year sentence after pleading guilty last June to DUI manslaughter, possession of a controlled substance and other charges. The driver crashed his vehicle into a PT Cruiser carrying the victim and her family outside the Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa on the day of the accident. Accident investigators found that the man was legally drunk and had been driving nearly twice the posted speed limit when the accident occurred.