Miami Heat dancer’s death involved driver who had been drinking

Miami television news station, Channel 4, reports that the driver of the car that struck a motorcyclist in east Fort Lauderdale which resulted in the death of a Miami Heat dancer stated to police that he had consumed two alcoholic drinks.

Channel 4 was able to access the search warrant filed in Broward County court which stated the driver, Mario Careaga of Fort Lauderdale, advised the police that he had the drinks at the Galeria Mall in Fort Lauderdale. The accident occurred near downtown Fort Lauderdale. So far no criminal charges have been filed against Careaga.

Police records state that Careaga was driving his 2009 Mercedes when he struck Miami Heat dancer, 22, of Plantation, who was riding a motorcycle near downtown Fort Lauderdale. The motorcylist had been heading west in the right lane on East Sunrise Boulevard, near North Federal Highway, in Fort Lauderdale, when Careaga’s car rear-ended the motorcycle, propelling Lopez-Ruiz off it.

This case raises a number of issues from the standpoint of filing criminal charges against the driver. One of the potential issues in any criminally prosecution which might be pursued against the driver of the automobile is whether he was under the influence of alcohol or a narcotic. Usually, two drinks do not contain enough alcohol to impair a driver’s faculties. However, drivers suspected of DUI frequently understate the amount of alcohol consumed in an attempt to minimize their potential criminal exposure.

In situations like this other evidence may come into play, such as a blood alcohol test or a breathalyzer test to determine whether the level of alcohol in the driver’s blood exceeded the legal limit. There may also be a video of the driver performing roadside tests administered by the police or even a video from the bar where he apparently admits to have been drinking. Likewise his tab at the bar may also reveal how many drinks were ordered.

On the other hand, this could simply be the case of a non-impaired driver who simply wasn’t paying attention and may have negligently rear-ended the victim. It will be the responsibility of the Broward County State Attorney’s office to sort all of this out.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Mixing bicycling and beer?

This past March an event was organized by The Beer Snob Bicycle Pub Crawl where participants bike from one bar to another and try different beer at each stop. A review of thewebsite for the event reveals a map with a bike ride of approximately 10 miles with 5 stops at local bars extending from Miami Beach to Downtown. Each bar was renowned for its wide selection of beers. The event was scheduled for evening hours. Participants were reminded to drink “responsibly.”

According to one participant, this event has been hosted several times and does not encourage too much drinking — “The point of the ride isn’t to get drunk but to be social and be athletic. . . You don’t drink three beers at the first stop. You have a beer, ride, have a beer, ride. So it’s more about having a good beer, having good conversation and riding your bike.”

Certainly riding your bike and having a few beers with some friends can make for an enjoyable evening. The obvious question arises — do these two activities mix? Four stops along the cycle route with just one beer at each location can be enough to get some people intoxicated beyond the legal limit for driving a car. While Cycling Under the Influence (“CUI”) is not a crime in the State of Florida, the questionable safety rationale for this event appears to be that a cyclist under the influence is less dangerous to others than a driver of a car under the influence. Well maybe . . . . but the level of coordination to ride a bike is greater than operating a car and riders could well be a danger to themselves, bicycle helmet notwithstanding.

Who knows what accidents, if any, have occurred at prior events. An accident involving a single bicyclist generally is not reported to authorities. Nevertheless, the organizers of this event need to think about the effects of CUI and consider drinking the beer after the bike ride with designated drivers available.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Hollywood, Florida, personal injury lawyers at The Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

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