Sarasota, FL- A Sarasota man was killed early Friday morning after a drunk driver t-boned his vehicle and fled the scene on foot. While this was a tragedy, fatal DUIs are not unusual; just how many people are killed by drunk drivers annually?
The tragedy on Florida unfolded just before 1 a.m. Friday morning at the intersection of U.S. 301 and 47th Street. Siosaia Founa, 29, of Bradenton was driving a 1995 Mercury in the northbound lanes of U.S. 301 when he slammed into a Ford Mustang driven by Scoot Parker, 55, The Sarasota Patch reported.
The front of Founa’s Mercury crashed into the left side of Parker’s Ford. Founa then fled the scene on foot, leaving his car behind.
Parker was pronounced dead at the scene.
Founa was later located by police and taken to a local hospital for minor injuries and police determined he was intoxicated. He has been subsequently charged with DUI manslaughter, driving with a suspended license and leaving the scene of an accident involving death.
Court records showed that Founa has an extensive criminal record which included previous DUI charges, and felony robbery, The Sarasota
In 2001, Founa was charged with his first DUI which resulted in probation, which he later violated.
Founa once again was charged and convicted of DUI in 2009. He also received a third charged of driving on a suspended license.
Though courts try to impose penalties to discourage drunk driving, at least 50 percent of convicted drunk drivers will become repeat offenders and subsequent DUIs can become deadly as the incident in Florida clearly demonstrates.
The most recent study of alcohol-impaired accidents conducted by the NHTSA in 2010 found that one person is killed in the U.S. is killed every 51 minutes by an impaired driver.
In 2010, there were 10,228 traffic fatalities caused by drivers with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher, accounting for 31 percent on road fatalities.
Florida came in at number three of states with the highest rate of fatal DUI accidents, trumped only by California at number one and Texas at number two. Overall, 1,846 fatalities were caused by drivers who had a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher.
Though innocent people are frequently killed by intoxicated drivers, the majority of fatal injuries are incurred by the driver, 6,627, sixty-five percent of total alcohol-related deaths. Passengers in vehicles with drunken drivers were also more likely to be killed and accounted for 17 percent of total fatalities.
Night is by far the most deadly time on the roads. The NHTSA study noted “The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2010 was four times higher at night than during the day.”
And younger drivers are more likely to cause intoxicated driving accidents. Those aged 21 to 24 years, had the highest percentage of drivers involved in fatal crashes, making up 34 percent of total fatalities.
Our courts have long-recognized how the dangers that impaired drivers present. If convicted of a DUI-related fatality, offenders risk being sentenced to jail anywhere from five years to life depending on their initial charges and the circumstances regarding their collision.
With the holidays approaching it’s important that people realize how deadly DUI accidents can be. This knowledge may make drivers think twice before they drink and get behind the wheel, especially if they realize they may be the ones killed.