Drunk driving is a universal problem that has led to thousands of deadly crashes over the years. In the United States, approximately 30 people lose their lives in DUI-related car collisions every day. In one year, that totals to over 10,000 people, children and teenagers included. Additionally, drunk driving is responsible for over 50% of the fatal car collisions on highways. The first thing you should do if you were charged with a DUI in the state of Florida is to contact an experienced DUI defense attorney immediately. Don’t wait until it is too late. Your freedom and livelihood are at stake.
There are federal and state laws that address drunk driving, such as spending time in prison, going to court, and attending driving school. In Florida depending on your county, you may be eligible for the Palm Beach County 1st Time DUI Offender Program. Additionally, ignition interlock device installation may also be required in the vehicles of offenders. Nevertheless, some people continuously ignore these laws and often get involved in horrifying DUI-related car collisions. Many of these accidents have deadly consequences, with drivers, their passengers, and other parties incurring life-changing physical and mental injuries or worse, death.
To give you an idea of just how painful and tragic drunk driving can be, here are three of the worst drunk driving accidents of all time:
The Carrollton Bus Collision
On May 14, 1988, at precisely 10:55 pm, 34-year-old Larry Wayne Mahoney rammed his 1987 Toyota pickup truck into a school bus carrying mostly teenage members of the First Assembly of God of Radcliff, Kentucky. The bus driver, John Pearlman, was also a church member working as a part-time associate pastor. He was one of the few adults who were supervising the group.
Dubbed as the 3rd deadliest vehicular crashes in the U.S., the collision happened along Interstate 71. Mahoney, who spent the night drinking at a friend’s house, caused such an impact on the bus that the collision ruptured the fuel tank. Since the tank didn’t have guard frames, the puncture ignited flames that engulfed the entire bus. Of the 67 people on the bus, 27 died, including the driver. Their bodies were burned beyond recognition—the six passengers who weren’t injured suffered from survivor guilt syndrome and emotional trauma.
A third vehicle, a 1977 Cadillac Sedan de Ville, had its driver’s side back door damaged.
Mahoney had a previous DUI conviction, and authorities found a still-cold 12-pack of Miller Lite beer inside the pickup truck, with several cans missing.
The Carrollton Bus Collision has the highest injury and death toll of all time in the United States. It prompted the State of Kentucky to change its drunk driving laws immediately and instituted regular inspections by the Alcoholic Beverage Control. Authorities also implemented state-wide police sobriety checks and better bus safety regulations.
The 2009 Taconic State Parkway Crash
On July 26, 2009, at approximately 9:30 am, Diane Schuler, her daughter, and three nieces were inside a 2003 Ford Windstar when it collided with two other vehicles. The 36-year-old Schuler was intoxicated with marijuana and alcohol when the crash happened at the Taconic State Parkway in Mount Pleasant.
Schuler was driving in the wrong direction and speeding at 85mph. She made a call to her brother, Warren Hance, her nieces’ father, and told him they were stuck in traffic. A few minutes later, one of her nieces called Hance, saying Schuler was having difficulties speaking and seeing clearly. The collision happened a few minutes after that second call.
The Ford Windstar collided with a Chevrolet TrailBlazer carrying a family of three: 81-year-old Michael Bastardi, his son Guy who was 49 at the time of the accident, and Guy’s 5-year-old son, Bryan. Only Bryan survived the collision.
Schuler also hit a 2002 Chevrolet Tracker, which injured the driver and passenger. Authorities later revealed that she had a BAC of 0.19% and high THC levels (Tetrahydrocannabinol) in her system.
The 2009 Taconic State Parkway Crash led to several lawsuits from all parties involved in the tragic accident.
Three-car Drunk Driving Crash in Southern California
Olivia Carolee Culbreath was 21 years old when she rammed into two cars along a Southern California freeway. The incident happened on February 09, 2014, and killed her 24-year-old younger sister Maya and a 24-year-old friend.
The high-speed collision also killed a family of four. Gregorio Mejia-Martinez (47), Leticia Ibarra (42), Jessica Jasmine Mejia (20), and Ester Delgado, their 80-year-old grandmother, were in the Ford Explorer that Culbreath collided with.
Joel Cortez, who was driving his Ford Freestyle, was also in the accident but survived with minor injuries.
Culbreath, who ruptured her bladder and broke a femur as a result of her disregard for the law, had a BAC of 0.15%. She had a DUI record in 2013, several restrictions on her license, and was driving in the wrong direction at 100mph.
The drunk driving accidents mentioned above are only some of the thousands of tragic incidents that happen every year – probably even every day – to people who ignore federal and state drinking and driving laws. It's best to talk to an experienced Florida DUI lawyer if you were arrested for DUI or to learn what you should do to prevent such life-altering incidents from happening to you.
What to Do if You Were Charged With DUI in Florida
If you were arrested or charged with DUI in Florida, it's best to seek expert advice or representation; contact us immediately at (561) 671-5995 or by clicking here and our experienced DUI defense attorney will provide the help you need. You can also download our free guide 'What You Must Know About Your DUI Case Before You Do Anything'
Guest Author: Lauren McDowell; Content Marketing Strategist for Interlock Install