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Brandon Woman Says Seizure Led to Fatal Car Accident

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A Brandon woman says seizures led to a fatal wreck on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway earlier this month that resulted in her being charged with DUI manslaughter.

Witnesses say Amber Nicole Perera was driving her vehicle at almost 90 mph for at least a mile prior to making a sharp turn into the car driven by Luiz Felipak. Investigators say Perera's Kia propelled Felipak's Hyundai through the median and into oncoming traffic, where it was struck by two other vehicles before catching fire. They say Felipak, his wife Rita, and their 8-year-old daughter Giorgia were killed in the accident.

Investigators went on to say that Perera continued driving after the wreck, traveling another 2-1/2 miles and then only stopping because of the loss of a wheel. According to arresting officers Perera was slurring her words, unsteady on her feet, and sweating profusely. They say she initially cooperated with police when they took her to the hospital for a blood sample, but subsequently secreted away the vials with her first sample in her underclothing, thereby destroying the evidence and necessitating a second draw. According to the report, Perera urinated on the hospital's floor after the second blood sample was taken.

Perera's attorney says she suffers from seizures, which began last fall. A visit to a neurologist led to a diagnosis of psychogenic nonepileptic seizures, which is a condition that leads to epilepsy-like seizures followed by a state of confusion and drowsiness.

According to her attorney, Perera had seizures earlier that day at work, leading her to take the remainder of the day off. He says she was traveling home from work and experienced another seizure, leading to the accident.

Perera is being held at the Hillsborough County Jail on three counts of DUI manslaughter, one count each of DUI with serious bodily injury, leaving the scene of a fatal accident, leaving the scene of a crash with serious bodily injury, tampering with evidence, and two counts of vehicular homicide. Last Wednesday a judge denied her bail, finding that she is a danger to the community.

The Law Offices of Bjorn Brunvand have been representing people charged with capital murder, felony drug charges, drunk driving, government fraud, and white-collar crimes for over a quarter century. Contact our office today to discuss your Tampa Bay-area state or federal charges.

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