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Miami Man Faces DUI Manslaughter Charges After Incident on Frankland Bridge

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A New Jersey cyclist met his fate Wednesday evening on the W. Howard Frankland Bridge, allegedly the victim of a drunken hit-and-run driver from Miami.

Authorities pronounced John M. Brennan, 44, dead at the scene of the accident on Frankland Bridge Wednesday night. Florida Highway Patrol troopers apprehended William B. Matthews, 67, shortly after the incident and transported him to the Pinellas County Jail, where he was booked just past midnight Thursday morning on charges relating to DUI manslaughter.

Troopers allege that Matthews struck Brennan while he (Matthews) was driving his Toyota Camry LE southbound on the bridge. The collision took place around mile marker 36, the officers say, which is on the Tampa side of the bridge. Matthews is alleged to have continued driving after the collision, but witnesses followed him, directing the troopers to him. Troopers finally apprehended him over two hours later after he exited Interstate 275 at Ulmerton Road near Carillon Parkway.

According to the arrest warrant, Matthews blood-alcohol content measured via Breathalyzer was 0.207% and 0.204%. Florida statute dictates that a driver is legally impaired when his or her BAC is at or above 0.08%. Troopers also allege in the affidavit that Matthews’ eyes were bloodshot and glassy, his breath smelled of alcohol, and he was unsteady on his feet, nearly falling on several occasions. The arresting officers also say that he consented to giving a blood sample, and that he was unable to pass a field sobriety test they administered to him.

A FHP spokesman told local media that walking, biking, or traversing the bridge in any other way but by motor vehicle is illegal, but also rare.

Matthews, who local media indicate is a sales manager for a manufacturing company, was held in Pinellas County Jail until mid-morning Friday, when records indicate that he was released to the custody of another county.

The Law Offices of Bjorn Brunvand has been helping Floridians charged with DUI offenses navigate the complex legal landscape of Florida DUI law for twenty-five years. Contact them now to discuss your Tampa Bay-area DUI charges.

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