Bond Lowered for Tampa Bay Rays Pitcher Arrested After DUI Hit and Run

Matt%20Bush%20Mug%20Shot.jpgIn early May, the bond for Tampa Bay Rays baseball player Matt Bush was reduced from $1 million to $440,000. Bush has remained in the Charlotte County Jail on multiple driving under the influence (DUI) charges since March. He was arrested on March 22nd after the sport utility vehicle he was driving allegedly hit a motorcycle carrying 72-year-old Anthony Tufano on US Highway 41. Although Tufano was seriously injured as a result of being thrown from the motorcycle, Bush reportedly fled the scene of the collision. The Rays pitcher was later stopped by police on another road and subsequently arrested. Following the accident, Tufano was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital with serious injuries.

According to local law enforcement, Bush exhibited slurred speech, poor coordination and balance, bloodshot eyes, and smelled of alcohol following the crash. When police administered a breathalyzer test, Bush blew a .180 and a .171, more than twice the State of Florida’s legal limit of .08. Bush admitted to hitting a pole earlier in the day, but told police officers he did not remember hitting a motorcycle. He was previously charged with DUI in both Arizona and California.

Following the crash, Bush was charged with fleeing the scene of a serious injury accident, DUI with serious injuries, DUI with property damage, and driving on a suspended license. If he is released on bond, he will be required to wear both an alcohol monitoring device and a GPS tracking bracelet. The judge who lowered his bond also told Bush he was not allowed to leave Charlotte County or enter any establishments that serve alcohol. Although prosecutors argued Bush was a flight risk, his attorney stated Bush cannot afford bail and will likely remain in Charlotte County Jail even with the lowered bond.

Intoxicated drivers threaten the lives of those traveling on Florida roadways every day. If a drunk driver has hurt you or someone you love, you should contact a Florida personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the crash. You may be eligible to receive compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills, disability, and lost wages. A skilled personal injury lawyer can help you receive fair compensation for your injuries or relieve your financial burden following a family member’s Florida wrongful death.
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Bond Lowered for Coral Gables Man Accused of DUI Manslaughter

1337577_wine_swirl%20sxchu%20website.jpgThe bond for a Coral Gables man charged with DUI manslaughter in connection with the April 13th death of a teenager was recently lowered to $205,000. 38-year-old Sandor Guillen is accused of driving his girlfriend’s Land Rover at a speed of more than 100 miles per hour into a minivan carrying three people. The minivan was reportedly torn in two by the impact and 13-year-old Kaely Camacho died as a result of the injuries she sustained in the accident. Her father and 16-year-old sister were taken to Baptist Hospital and later released. Guillen allegedly attempted to flee the scene of the accident on foot before he was apprehended a few blocks away.

According to reports, Guillen smelled of alcohol and admitted to drinking liquor prior to the collision. A Miami-Dade judge initially set bond for Guillen at $1 million despite that the average bond for individuals accused of DUI manslaughter in Florida is about $45,000. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Leon Firtel reduced the bond before a packed courtroom after stating it was his duty to uphold the law. Onlookers expressed concern that Guillen would flee the country if he were released. Both Guillen, a United States citizen, and his parents, Nicaraguan nationals, surrendered their passports to the Miami-Dade court. If Guillen posts the bond, he will be placed under house arrest and required to wear a GPS tracking device.

Guillen was also charged with driving without a license, motor vehicular homicide, and leaving the scene of an accident. The case has attracted widespread attention in South Florida due to the efforts of one of Kaely’s five siblings. Bree Ann Camacho used social media to encourage supporters of the higher bond amount to attend Tuesday’s bond hearing. She also started an online petition in support of maintaining the higher bond for Guillen.

Alcohol can have a significant effect on a driver’s judgment, perception, and reaction time. Individuals who choose to get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol are a danger to everyone on the roadway. Tragically, drunk driving is one of the leading causes of fatal traffic accidents in Florida. If you were hurt or lost a loved one in a drunken driving crash, it is a good idea to contact a capable Florida car accident lawyer to discuss your case.
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Rapper ‘Flo Rida’ arrested in South Florida for DUI



Last week, rapper Flo Rida, known for his hit songs “Low” and “Right Round”, was arrested in Miami Beach and charged with driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license. Thankfully, this incident did not result in an auto accident.

According to the Sun Sentinel and TMZ, Flo Rida, a native of Miami Gardens whose real name is Tramar Dillard, was driving through South Beach at about 3:30 am when police pulled over his 2008 Bugatti and detected the smell of alcohol. The rapper apparently had a blood alcohol level of .185. The legal limit in Florida is .08.

DUI accidents account for thousands of fatalities every year. The figures, according to Alcohol Alert, show that there were over 37,000 alcohol-related deaths in 2008, with 1,041 of those deaths occurring in Florida. That number accounted for 35% of Florida’s total driving fatalities that year.

If you have been the victim of a DUI-related accident, consult with a Florida auto accident attorney.

Orlando Father and Three Sons Killed By Drunk Driver

While on vacation in Pinellas County over the weekend of July 30th, the McConnell family of Orlando experienced a grave tragedy when a drunk driver killed four of their loved ones. Elroy McConnell, 51, and his sons, Elroy McConnell III, 28, Nathan McConnell, 24, and Kelly McConnell, 19, were all riding together early Sunday morning after seeing a movie. Without warning, Demetrius Jordan, 20, collided with the family’s car while driving 85 mph through a red light at the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street and 22nd Avenue North.

The impact was so violent that it ripped the car in two. The McConnells all died instantly. Jordan, who admitted to having consumed several alcoholic beverages and smoking marijuana that night, was seriously injured in the accident and his passenger was also admitted to the hospital in critical condition. The accident is just a grim reminder of the dangers of drug and alcohol use while driving.

Drunk drivers threaten the lives of adults and children on the roads every day. If a drunk driver has victimized you or someone in your family, you must contact a lawyer right away. A lawyer can help you get justice for your injuries or for a wrongful death. Even if there have been criminal charges filed, you may be able to seek civil compensation for your loss, including pain and suffering, payments for medical bills and lost wages.

Broward County Officer Victim of Hit-and-Run Injury

On Sunday, September 28, Officer Elijah Rodgers of Lauderhill, Florida was released from Broward General Medical Center after suffering injuries from a hit-and-run driver, according to the Sun Sentinel.

Officer Rodgers has worked with the Lauderhill Police for four years. He was conducting a routine traffic stop on Thursday around 3:40 in the afternoon at NW 25th Court and 52nd Avenue. The driver of the vehicle, however, took off, striking and injuring Rodgers. Luckily, Rodgers suffered no broken bones and is recovering at home. Rodgers got a look at the driver’s tag number while on the ground, memorized it, and gave the information to other officers. The driver was found and arrested an hour later.

The driver, Charles Anderson, of North Miami, will face charges, including failing to stop or yield at an intersection, aggravated battery on an officer and driving with an invalid license.

A hit-and-run accident in Florida is a serious offense, punishable by very strict explicit laws. Florida’s laws create a duty to drivers involved in an accident to stop at the scene, among other requirements. Violation of these laws may result in criminal charges and civil suit, a jail sentence, and community service. Some of the Florida statutes on hit-and-run accidents can be found on, a website dedicated to victims of hit-and-run deaths and injuries.

In a previous blog entitled

New Evidence Found In Former MLB Player’s South Florida Auto Accident Case

A new videotape has been found which may aid former New York Yankee Jim Leyritz’s DUI manslaughter case which was to begin this September. In 2007, at about 3:19 a.m. in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, police claim that Leyritz was drunk and ran a red light, causing an auto accident and killing 30-year-old Freida Veitch of Plantation.

According to the Miami Herald, the videotape, recorder a half block from the accident from a light pole, reveals a time stamp which is sooner than what has been alleged, and could aid Leyritz’s defense by casting doubt on the toxicology results. The defense says that the earlier time span from which the accident occurred would call to question the effect that alcohol had on Leyritz’s driving.

If convicted, Leyritz could face 15 years in prison. He is currently out on bond awaiting trial which, because of the surfacing of this video, may be postponed until as late as January. Leyritz faced legal troubles earlier in July when his ex-wife accused him of domestic battery.

This story Jim Leyritz is unfortunately one of many similar stories of late putting the spotlight on the consequences of drunk driving in South Florida. In March, professional football player Donte Stallworth pled guilty to DUI in an auto accident in Miami Beach, which resulted in the death of a pedestrian. In July, actor Jeffrey Donovan, star of USA’s hit series ‘Burn Notice’ was also arrested in Miami Beach on suspicion of DUI when he almost hit a police car.

South Florida has been a hot spot for celebrities for many years, from professional athletes to stars of the stage and screen. Florida’s beaches and cities known for their nightlife such as Fort Lauderdale and Miami attract visitors from all over the world. However, average citizens and celebrities alike are all subject to the same laws and regulations. Every person is innocent until proven guilty in our legal system and each case must be looked at under its given circumstances. Florida’s laws are in place to assure us that our streets are safe, and that those violators, whether an everyday resident or a high-profile celebrity, will be punished fairly and without any preferential or unreasonably harsh treatment.

Auto Accident in Fort Lauderdale Kills Cyclist

A cyclist was found dead from an auto accident on Friday, August 28, in an auto accident which occurred shortly after midnight on State Road AIA in Fort Lauderdale. The Miami Herald reported that the cyclist was heading northbound when a Mercedes Benz, also headed northbound, collided with the cyclist.

Police had not released the man’s name because they had yet to notify the family. The cyclist was pronounced dead at Broward General Medical Center. Police continue to investigate whether the driver was under the influence at the time of the accident.

While driving under the influence is speculative in this case, it brings up a concern that Florida drivers are no stranger to. Concerns for drunk driving grow on holiday weekends, such as this weekend’s Labor Day. According to a study referred to in a previous blog entitled “Broward County auto accident puts eight in hospital”, last year there were 36 fatalities on Labor Day weekend, 12 of which were alcohol-related. That same study showed that, in 2008, there were 4,380 bicyclist injuries and 118 bicyclist fatalities in traffic accidents.

The Florida DMV calculates that, in 2006, there were 1,606 DUI convictions in Broward County and 1,824 convictions in Miami-Dade County. Statewide, there were 34,638 convictions. While this reflects an 8 percent decrease from 2005, the numbers are staggering.

However, Florida has enforced strict laws to crack down on drunk driving. Florida’s zero tolerance law enforces an automatic 6-month suspension for any driver under the age of 21 who has a blood alcohol level (BAL) higher than .02. The level for drivers over 21 is .08. The effect is that a driver under 21 in Florida cannot have a single drink of alcohol and get into a vehicle.

With warnings of DUI road stops and increased police force during these weekends, and the risk of serious and fatal injury, drivers are encouraged to do all that is necessary to prevent from driving under the influence. The abundance of taxis in large South Florida cities such as Miami have given drivers a safe alternative. For others, choosing a designated driver or finding activities that don’t involve alcohol will ensure a safe ride home for ourselves and for others as we celebrate a great Labor Day weekend.

South Florida Hit and Run and Drunk Drivers

Within the past few weeks the police in the Fort Lauderale area have been investigating two instances of pedestrians being injured in vehicular accidents. In the first instance, law enforcement is attempting to locate a car that a surveillance camera caught hitting a pedestrian, Marshall Clinton, 51,and then driving away. The crash happened about 11 p.m. Friday, May 23, 2008 as Mr. Chilton crossed the street. Marshall Chilton, 51, was admitted in the hospital with broken bones and is expected to recover.

In a second incident in Fort Lauderdale, a man is accused of killing a woman, Ms.Kathleen Gosnell, 60, and injuring Mr. Raymond Haruben, 63, after striking them with his vehicle on Thursday, May 22, 2008. Toxicology reports confirmed that he was Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI). Steven Kopson, 53, of Fort Lauderdale, was charged with manslaughter while driving under the influence of alcohol, among several charges.

Both these incidents raise the question, “If I am a pedestrian in an accident who was struck by a hit and run driver- who will pay for the treatment and pain and suffering I have sustained through no fault of my own?” The answer is that even though you are a pedestrian, your own PIP and UIM insurance will ensure that you are fully protected and covered for your injuries even though you weren’t driving your vehicle at the time.

The importance of PIP coverage and UIM coverage on your automobile policies is especially important when you are a pedestrian and you you are struck by a hit and run driver. It is in that instance that your own insurance coverage is there to protect you. Your PIP Insurance or Personal Injury Protection Insurance will cover the first $10,000.00 of your medical bills and your UIM Insurance will afford you coverage for everything over and above the first $10,000.00 up to the limits you choose.

What if your injuries are serious and you need treatment well over and above $10,000.00 and what about pain and suffering, wrongful death and lost or diminished capacity to earn a living? UIM coverage is the only coverage that will protect you if the party at fault in an accident either is unknown, has no Bodily Injury coverage (which is not required in the State of Florida) or has a minimal amount of Bodily Insurance Coverage. In effect you can seek compensation for your injuries and damages from your own insurance company should any of these circumstances occur, but only if you have UIM Insurance coverage.

If you would like to read further about this issue, we have addressed the Florida UIM and PIP Insurance issue in a previous article on our blog entitled: “Florida No-Fault, Med Pay and UIM Insurance” dated May 12, 2008. It is our hope that all Florida drivers will contact their insurance agents and demand a quote for UIM coverage on their policies. That way, should the unfortunate happen and you are injured in an accident caused by an uninsured driver or underinsured driver, you won’t have to worry about your financial future being decimated by medical bills.

If you have any questions about these issues please feel free to call our offices. We want every Florida driver to be aware and informed about their right to protect themselves through proper and FULL automobile insurance coverage.