A Lakeland dance instructor was sentenced to a dozen years in Florida prison last Monday after being found guilty of DUI manslaughter.
Deputies from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office say Brian A. DeFreitas was driving home in early October 2015 when he collided with the pick-up truck being driven by Maria Luisa Olivas. They say he was driving his Dodge Avenger home from work at speeds of over 90 mph that evening on State Road 60 in Plant City when he struck the 45-year-old Olivas’ vehicle.
The collision allegedly sent the truck tumbling, ejecting Olivas and injuring her two children, one nine years old and the other eight. The trio was transported to Tampa General Hospital, Olivas with serious injuries and her children with broken bones and abrasions. The children survived, but Olivas’ injuries proved to be mortal.
Responding officers reported speaking to DeFreitas at the scene, alleging he told them that he had imbibed wine at work. According to the officers, DeFreitas smelled of alcohol and had glassy eyes, slurred speech, and was unsteady on his feet. They say he declined to perform a sobriety test, submit to a Breathalyzer test, and did not allow his blood to be drawn.
Officers investigating the crash decided to have DeFreitas’ blood drawn involuntarily, as the accident with which he was involved resulted in a fatality. Believing that a warrant would take too long, officers eventually had his blood drawn at South Florida Baptist Hospital in Plant City three hours later. According to the officers involved, DeFreitas’ blood-alcohol content was 0.22%, well above the 0.08% limit at which Florida law presumes impairment.
DeFreitas, now 48, was convicted of DUI manslaughter, DUI with serious bodily injury, and DUI with property damage. A fourth count of vehicular homicide was dismissed. He is currently being held at the Hillsborough County Jail awaiting transfer to a Florida prison. DeFreitas will serve five years of probation upon his release as well as participating in Alcoholics Anonymous. His Florida driver’s license was revoked as well.