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Wrong-Way Driver Kills Teen in Head-On Collision in Hobe Sound

Posted on June 27, 2011

This is a horrific story about a wrong-way driver who killed a 16-year-old cheerleader and then himself in a head-on collision near Hobe Sound. CBS12.com reports the wrong way driver was behind the wheel of a 2003 Chevy Impala driving north of Hobe Sound on the wrong lane, when he hit and killed a teen driver from Stuart Thursday night around 9:25 p.m. on June 23. The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) will determine whether alcohol was involved and contributed to the fiery Florida car crash. The 16-year-old was driving a Ford Ranger truck northbound while the wrong-way driver was southbound on the northbound lane of U.S 1.

According to CBS12.com, the wrong-way driver has been arrested 40 times including DUI and disorderly intoxication, battery, larceny, shoplifting, loitering, cocaine possession, robbery, failure to appear, trespassing and aggravated assault.

In April, he was arrested by Palm Beach Shores police for driving with a suspended license. At the time of this crash, the wrong way driver was operating a motor vehicle without a license. He too died at the scene. Our prayers and thoughts go out to all of the friends and family members of this teenager, who was loved by many.

It’s unfortunate that Florida drivers are given multiple chances after convicted of a DUI. Not until they hurt or kill someone can they be charged with DUI Manslaughter or DUI Vehicular Homicide and receive a sentence of up to 15 years in prison, 30 years if they leave the scene. Florida Statute 316.193 (3) requires a driver’s license be suspended for six months for the first offense and one year for any other offense of driving with an unlawful alcohol level. For a 2nd DUI conviction in more than 5 years, the driver will lose his license for at least 180 days up to one year.

Unfortunately, many drivers ignore a license suspension and drive anyway.

The best way to stop intoxicated drivers from getting behind the wheel is to install an ignition interlock device. Generally installed with a restricted driver license, the fuel cell technology prevents a vehicle from starting when a breath sample tests above 0.05. The technology is user funded, in other words, the DUI driver must pay for the installation and the monthly maintenance. It may be the only way to stop someone without a license who continues to drink from getting behind the wheel.

Sources: http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2011/jun/24/stuart-girl-16-killed-head—crash-wrong-way-driver/, http://www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/iid.html, http://www.cbs12.com/articles/sound-4733346-hobe-way.html and http://www.cbs12.com/video/?videoId=1021888124001&play=now