The Florida Highway Patrol says that a 24-year-old man was drunk when he struck and killed a cyclist and then fled the scene during the early morning hours of Sept. 19. The Riverside resident has been charged with DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death. He is being held without bail at the Hillsborough County Jail according to media reports.
SUV strikes bicycle
The fatal accident took place on the southbound lanes of U.S. Route 41 near Riverside Drive in Riverside at approximately 2:58 a.m. According to a FHP report, the man’s SUV struck a 45-year-old cyclist during a passing maneuver. The man was thrown to the ground, and his bicycle became lodged in the SUV. Police say that the man then fled the scene and dragged the bicycle for more than two miles.
Dead at the scene
The sequence of events came to an end when FHP troopers initiated a traffic stop near the intersection of U.S. Route 41 and Beach Avenue. The cyclist was pronounced dead at the accident scene by emergency workers. The driver of the SUV was taken into custody and transported to the HCJ for processing and toxicology testing. Two breath tests are said to have revealed that the man was behind the wheel with a blood alcohol concentration of between 0.12 and 0.13. Motorists are considered intoxicated in Florida when they have BACs of 0.08 or higher.
Challenging toxicology evidence
The equipment used to conduct breath or blood tests is extremely sophisticated and very accurate, but that does not mean toxicology evidence is infallible. Experienced criminal defense attorneys might seek to have blood or breath evidence excluded in DUI cases if the equipment used was not properly maintained or the officers conducting the test did not follow proper procedures. Attorneys may also question the reliability of toxicology evidence when their clients suffer from any of the medical conditions that have been known to skew BAC results.