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Florida man charged following fatal crash

A Florida man has been arrested on drunk driving-related charges and detained in Lake County following his involvement in a fatal car crash that left his passenger dead.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the serious car accident happened as the 23-year-old suspect was traveling north in The Villages at approximately 2:30 a.m. Police said the suspect was unable to maintain control of his car as he attempted a left turn, causing the vehicle to go counter-clockwise across the road. Eventually, the vehicle slammed into a median lamp post before colliding with a large tree. The car then reversed directions, spun across the road's southbound lanes and came to rest on the west shoulder.

The suspect was taken to a nearby hospital to receive treatment for minor injuries. The car's 22-year-old passenger was pronounced dead at the scene. FHP investigators could not determine the man's identity for 12 hours, as he was carrying no driver's license or any other identifying items.

After the suspect was released from the hospital, he was arrested and transported to jail. Authorities plan to take him to Marion County, where he will face one charge of DUI with property damage and one charge of DUI manslaughter. An FHP spokesman said that troopers felt there was enough evidence to file drunk driving charges against the man immediately, though it is unclear whether a breath or blood test was administered after the crash.

If the suspect is convicted for causing the crash, it could bolster a wrongful death lawsuit if the victim's family wished to file one. While it can be argued that the passenger should have not gotten into a car being driven by a drunk driver, he should not expect to have to lose his life.

Source: Gainsville Sun, "Man charged with DUI/manslaughter in crash that killed passenger," Joe Callahan, April 29, 2012

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