On February 17, 2013, Broward County resident Dwight Morrison was mowed down during a Saturday morning bike ride. The driver of the red Toyota that killed Morrison was fleeing the scene of another crash that occurred just minutes earlier. After slamming into the bicyclist and again failing to stop, twenty-eight (28) year-old Jose Javier Monserrate-Dural crashed into at least four additional vehicles before finally stopping. The hit-and-run driver was arrested and is now facing multiple charges from DUI manslaughter, to driving with a suspended license.
If Monserrate-Dural had just stopped for the initial accident, his charges would be substantially less severe, and Dwight Morrison would still be alive. Instead, the young driver is facing thirty (30) years in state prison for the DUI, hit-and-run killing.
Almost 70,000 hit and run crashes occurred in Florida in 2012. Of those, 168 involved at least one fatality. Police list many different reasons for why people run from the scene of an accident such as: driving with an invalid license; driving without insurance; or people driving in areas where they shouldn’t be. However, the most common reason for a hit-and-run accident is alcohol or drug-related driver impairment.
Driving under the influence is a serious offense in Florida, especially if the charge involves a fatal crash. Drivers who are irresponsible enough to drive drunk or otherwise intoxicated are almost always aware that they are violating the law. If an intoxicated driver is involved in a car crash, that person faces criminal liability, civil liability, and other penalties such as revocation of insurance coverage. The fear of those repercussions sometimes leads to the impaired driver fleeing the scene of the accident, leaving the victims left holding the bag.
That’s exactly what Jose Monserrate-Dural was trying to do after he crashed into Dwight Morrison’s bike. Fortunately, he did not get very far before he was stopped. Now the charges against the young driver could land him in prison for thirty (30) years, significantly longer than any charge he could have received if he’d stopped at the original crash scene. Not to mention his exposure to liability in a wrongful death suit.
If you or someone that you care about is involved in a car accident caused by a driver who flees the scene, make sure that you protect yourself by doing the following:
- Write down the tag number of the other vehicle before it gets away if possible.
- Take a picture or write down a description of the car that hit you.
- Get a picture or accurate description of the person driving the car that hit you.
- Call 911 as soon as you possibly can.
It’s very important that you contact the police as soon as you possibly can after a hit-and-run accident. This will increase the chance that they will be able to apprehend the other driver and will ensure that you have the ability to recover for any injuries that the fleeing driver causes to you. Calling the police is also necessary to protect your right to recover under your own uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance policy should the police fail to apprehend the guilty driver. If you are involved in an auto accident, call the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for a free case evaluation with one of our experienced Tampa Bay accident attorneys.