Articles Tagged with DUI

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Yesterday, we reported on the tragic accident that took the life of a bicyclist and seriously injured another in a hit and run accident that occurred in Key Biscayne in the early morning hours.

Alejandro Alvarez.jpgIn the last 24 hours, police has released additional information on what caused the accident, and the identities of the people involved. 21-year-old Alejandro Alvarez was arrested by police after he admitted to running over bicyclists Walter Reyes, and Henry Hernandez. Walter Reyes succumbed to his injuries at the scene, while Henry Hernandez was emergently taken to Mercy Hospital for serious physical injuries. Henry is said to be in stable condition at this time.

Upon admitting being at the wheels of the 2014 VW Jetta involved in the incident, Alvarez was arrested by police. He is currently behind bars and facing multiple criminal charges, including manslaughter and driving under the influence.

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At dawn this morning in Miami, a Chevy pick-up truck traveling eastbound on Northeast 15th Street, in downtown Miami, was t-boned by a white Daimler SMART car traveling southbound on Biscayne Boulevard. One of the investigators told the media that it is believed the driver of the SMART car failed to stop at a stop sign or a red light, which was the cause for the two vehicle to collide at such a high rate of speed.

car2go-crash.jpegThe incident occurred at approximately 4:45am on Wednesday August 14, 2013. The passenger of the SMART car, a young woman in her twenties was fatally injured and died at the scene. The driver of the SMART car was critically injured and rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital. The condition of the driver of the pick-up truck remain unknown but reporters have shared that there are serious concerns he may have sustained a catastrophic spinal cord injury and may be paralyzed. (Photo on the left courtesy of Miami Herald)

The SMART car involved in this incident, whose driver was supposedly at fault, was a CAR2GO vehicle. According to the company’s website, CAR2GO is a mobility program launched in Austin, Texas back in November 2009. The company provides a fleet of free-floating vehicles distributed all over the city. Individuals who become members of CAR2GO have the ability to use any vehicle from the CAR2GO fleet at any time.

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A rear-end collision that ruined the life of a Jamaican handyman put him and Miami personal injury attorney Thomas Scolaro through a four-year quest for justice in state and federal courts.

Scolaro’s advocacy for Dwight Grant reached a turning point in Broward Circuit Court in May when jurors awarded his client $15.1 million. While jurors deliberated, however, Scolaro agreed to a conditional consent judgment with Farmers Insurance providing a maximum $5 million award and a waiver of Farmers’ right to appeal if Scolaro can prove bad faith in a subsequent trial.

He is confident that will happen.

Dwight Grant, then 22, was a back-seat passenger when the car he was riding in was stopped at a drawbridge and hit from behind by a drunk driver in Pompano Beach in 2007. He suffered permanent brain injuries that left him with short-term memory loss and chronic seizures. The other driver, Matthew Lyons, was fleeing police.

The original insurer, AIG’s 21st Century, which was purchased by Farmers in 2009, offered the policy maximum of $100,000. But it came with conditions Scolaro found unacceptable.

Nevertheless, the insurer sought enforcement, insisting it made a valid offer. Circuit Judge Patti Englander Henning sided with AIG, and Scolaro appealed.

The 4th District Court of Appeal reversed in June 2009, noting the company’s general release was not routine. The insurer demanded Grant release other potential defendants even though they were not AIG customers.

AIG also required Grant to accept a nondisclosure clause and agree that all hospital bills had been fully paid. His medical bills exceeded $250,000, and he would need lifetime care. Scolaro made a counter offer of $755,000.

“The insurance company’s response did not constitute an acceptance of the offer made by the plaintiff. The trial court erred in enforcing the settlement,” Judge Martha Warner wrote for the appellate court.

Because Lyons was a convicted drunk driver and liability was established, the trial on remand focused on damages.

Grant was the twin brother of Dwayne Grant, and the two worked together as remodelers on home improvement projects. Dwayne stopped working to care for his brother. During trial, they were living in Uniondale, New York, but since then Dwight Grant has moved to Jamaica where his mother cares for him, and Dwayne has gone back to work.
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Under Florida law, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is one offense, proved by impairment of normal faculties or unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above. The penalties upon conviction are the same, regardless of the manner in which the offense is proven. Florida Statute 316.193.

Living and working in Fort Lauderdale as a handyman, 22-year-old Dwight Grant’s life was changed forever when he became a DUI victim. Mr. Grant was sitting in the back seat of his friend’s car, stopped on the road, waiting for a raised drawbridge. A couple of blocks behind him, Matthew Lyons was driving his car uncontrollably and at a very high rate of speed. When Mr. Lyons made a left turn and faced the stopped traffic, it was too late for him to avoid the horrific rear-end car accident that ensued. The investigation revealed that Mr. Lyons was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, with a blood alcohol level of .21, almost triple the legal limit.

As a result of this rear-end car accident, Dwight Grant sustained skull fractures, frontal lobe brain damage and facial fractures. He had corrective surgery to repair the fractures and was discharged after two weeks in intensive care. Following his release from the hospital, Mr. Grant developed a seizure disorder that is not controlled by medication. He is unable to resume work due to his uncontrolled seizures.

DUI Victim Attorney, Thomas Scolaro, of Leesfield & Partners filed a civil lawsuit against Matthew Lyons for his negligent driving. The defendant alleged that although he was intoxicated, Mr. Grant’s seizures could have been better controlled in the future had he been more compliant with taking his anti-seizure medications and had he been more compliant returning for follow-up medical appointments. What the defendant failed to realize was that Mr. Grant did not always take his medication because his frontal lobe brain damage caused him to be very forgetful. Experts at trial testified that the degree of brain damage and the location of the damage in the frontal lobe controlled his decision making processes and affected his short-term memory.

After a five-day trial, the jury panel of 3 men, and 3 women jury panel found that the defendant was negligent. The jury found that Mr. Grant was unable to return to work in any capacity and awarded Mr. Grant $2.7 million for past and future lost wages, $6.7 million for past and future medical care, and $6 million for past and future pain and suffering.

The case, entitled Dwight Grant v. Matthew Lyons, Lower Tribunal Case No, 07-015561 (03) was tried before Judge Mily Rodriguez-Powell in Broward County, Florida.
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