Eight people were injured and a ninth was killed in a fiery car crash that officers of the Florida Highway Patrol say was the result of a Pinellas Park man drunkenly driving the vehicle several of them occupied.
Eighteen-year-old Donavan Leigh Patterson is accused by authorities of driving his 2008 Dodge Caliber while intoxicated last week. They say Patterson had five others in his vehicle at the time, all of whom were minors, when he struck the Ford F-250 driven by Dalton Cox.
The crash, which occurred at the intersection of Curlew Road and McMullen-Booth Road in Oldsmar, occurred at two o’clock in the morning and led to the death of Jocelyn Schirmer, a passenger in Patterson’s vehicle. The eighteen-year-old Schirmer was killed instantly, according to troopers, as she was not wearing a seatbelt. Her brother, seventeen-year-old Paul “PJ” Schirmer was hospitalized as a result of the accident as well. Patterson’s vehicle caught fire after the collision, but it was not publicized whether it caused any injuries suffered by the occupants.
Troopers say Cox had been drinking prior to the accident as well, but blood-alcohol tests were still pending at the time officials spoke to the media. Two passengers in Cox’s truck were slightly injured in the accident.
Patterson was booked into Pinellas County Jail upon his discharge from Tampa General Hospital. He is being held in lieu of a $250,00 bond and is facing five counts of DWI causing serious bodily injury, one count of vehicular homicide, one count of DUI manslaughter, and one count of driving with a suspended license. Cox had not been charged at the time the story was published by local press.