A Naples man with a significant history of DUI convictions has been charged with several more after troopers say he caused an accident that led to the injury of three children.
Per the Florida Highway Patrol, Jesus Sandoval was driving his 2004 Ford Explorer southbound on I-75 with his three children as passengers on the evening of December 28 when a Ford F-150 piloted by Billy Noel Catherwood struck its rear portion as it approached the exit to State Road 674.
Troopers say the 35-year-old father was buckled in to the vehicle and was only lightly injured in the impact. Two of his children were not buckled in and were thrown from the vehicle as a result. One was seriously injured while the other’s injuries were described as critical. The third child was buckled in but sustained serious injuries in the accident.
Though the Sandovals’ vehicle landed on its side after impact, investigators say Catherwood failed to stop after the accident. According to police the F-150 continued down I-75 for another 13 miles until mechanical failure rendered it inoperable. Manatee County sheriff’s deputies arrested Catherwood 90 minutes after the initial accident as he was allegedly proceeding away from his vehicle.
Upon his arrest, officers administered an alcohol breath test on Catherwood. According to troopers the test showed a blood-alcohol content of 0.15%, which is well above Florida’s statutory level of assumed impairment at 0.08%. State records indicate that the 63-year-old Naples man has had two other DUI convictions – one in Nassau County in 2002 and the other in Collier County in 2011.
Catherwood was booked into Manatee County Jail later that evening on three counts of DUI with personal property damage, two counts of DUI with serious bodily injury, three counts of leaving the scene of a crash involving serious injury, three counts of leaving the scene of a crash involving injury, and one count of driving without a license and causing serious injury. He remains in custody in lieu of a bond of $260,000.