North Fort Myers man faces charges of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide in drunk driving accident

The 22-year-old, his girlfriend and a 17-year-old friend were returning home from swimming and some pizza when the June 11 Del Prado Boulevard accident occurred. The driver, arguing about wet seats, accelerated into the curve and lost control of his 1992 Nissan. The car then skidded off the road and struck a tree, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

The 20-year-old front-seat passenger was killed instantly and both the driver a second passenger were seriously injured in the alcohol-related Fort Myers car accident. The driver, who faces 20 years in prison if convicted, has been charged with DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, DUI with serious bodily injury and DUI with property damage. Police reports indicate the driver was also under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash.

For the family of the deceased, the loss didn’t stop with their daughter. Shortly after the accident, the victim’s mother disappeared and has yet to return. Friends told the News-Press she was suicidal after the accident.

According to the Center for Disease Control, every 45 minutes a person in the U.S. is killed due to an alcohol-related car accident. In 2008, alcohol and narcotics use were factors in 1.4 million driver arrests and drugs other than alcohol were linked to 18 percent of all motor vehicle deaths. Drivers and passengers aged 21-24 accounted 34 percent of all alcohol-related fatal crash victims, making this age group the most likely to suffer loss of life behind the wheel in a DUI-related crash.

That trends is consistent in Florida as well, where, in 2009, drivers aged 20-24 had the highest rate of fatal car accidents and represented the highest number of alcohol-related car accidents and fatal crashes involving alcohol, the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports.