Florida transportation officials reported more than 17,000 of over 281,000 state traffic accidents in 2012 involved, or were suspected of involving, alcohol. More than 800 people died and over 12,000 victims were injured in drunk driving accidents.
Drivers in these crashes were engaged in reckless or careless actions. The injuries and deaths that resulted were avoidable.
A newly-released search warrant adds ammunition to liability lawsuits filed by Florida families for their daughters' wrongful deaths. The 20-year-old driver state police said caused the fatal car accident two months ago was drunk and under the influence of marijuana.
The case drew national attention when it was discovered how the wrong-way driver used Internet social media sites. The alleged underage drinker, the self-proclaimed "pothead princess," filled her Twitter account with descriptions of being high and drunk and photos of joints.
Witnesses told troopers, in the hours before the fatal accident, the woman was drinking alcohol at a Coral Springs bar. The establishment denied knowing the woman was in the bar, but had no proof to support or discredit the claim.
Troopers tested the woman's blood alcohol content at the hospital. The BAC reading was 0.15 percent, almost double the state limit for intoxication. Marijuana use also was detected.
The families have brought lawsuits against the "pothead princess," the bar and the woman's boyfriend - the owner of the car she was driving. The parents of the women who died vowed to hold all parties involved responsible for the daughters' deaths.
The boyfriend told reporters his girlfriend is recovering at home, after being released from a rehabilitation facility. The driver broke both legs in the crash and suffered serious head injuries. So far, investigators have not filed any charges.
Criminal charges or a criminal conviction lends support to a Pensacola plaintiff's liability claim. Proof of drunk or drugged driving is evidence against defendants responsible for disregarding others' safety.
News-Sun, "2 killed when truck runs over four pedestrians" Samantha Gholar, Jan. 05, 2014