A year-long investigation has yielded vehicular homicide charges against a Seffner man in relation to a fatal crash authorities say he initiated while having alcohol-withdrawal seizures.
Per investigators, the now-38-year-old man had a long history of alcohol dependence in the run-up to December 26, 2017, when he slid behind the wheel of his Chevrolet light truck. The man allegedly told investigators that he had abruptly stopped drinking in an effort at improving his relationship with the passenger, who local media identified as his wife.
Though his previous attempts at going cold turkey had yielded severe seizures that led to other, less devastating crashes, authorities say this did not slow him down that fateful day. His license already suspended, the defendant allegedly began his trek northbound on the James Redman Parkway around dusk that day.
Witnesses say the trip was uneventful until he reached Trapnell Road and the seizure struck. The vehicle careened out of control across the median, entering the southbound lanes and hitting a pair of Ford compact cars, one in a head-on collision. The head-on collision was the worse of the two wrecks, leading to fatal injuries for the driver and a leg injury to the passenger.
As to the suspect, his trip ended with the truck on its side. He emerged from the vehicle with a broken foot after being cut from it by emergency personnel, while his passenger sustained several injuries, including broken ribs.
The passengers of the third vehicle were relatively fortunate, escaping the incident with no serious injuries.
This case is the first of its kind in Hillsborough County, as prosecutors there will be attempting to convict a man of vehicular homicide based upon his alleged knowledge of the consequences of his alcohol withdrawals. The self-employed mechanic and Michigan native was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail on January 20 on a count of reckless driving with serious bodily injury and a second count of vehicular homicide. He was released six days later after posting a bond of $52,000.