They had a baby, a new marriage and all of life in front of them that June evening. Stopped at a light at 12:30 AM on World Center Drive in Orlando, 24-year-old Giselle Batista and 30-year-old Benjamin Frias probably never saw what hit them.
Alejandro Correa, a 20-year-old Orlando man, was driving with a blood alcohol content three times the legal limit when measured four hours afterward. Travelling at a speed estimated at between 80 and 100 miles per hour, the Dodge Charger driven by Mr. Correa slammed into the back of the Toyota Corolla driven by Mr. Frias, folding the car into an accordion that mortally injured both occupants.
Ms. Batista died at the scene when her rib ripped into her heart. Mr. Frias was transported to a hospital, where he was taken off life support several days later. Mr. Correa was so intoxicated he was not aware an accident had occurred and thought he was being cited for speeding. With no skid marks at the scene, prosecutors said Mr. Correa made no attempt to slow down before hitting the couple.
Facing a maximum 30 years in prison, Mr. Correa pled guilty to DUI manslaughter and was sentenced to a term of six years.
In Florida, drivers convicted of DUI face penalties including:
Mr. Correa has six years in prison to consider his decision to drink and drive that night. While laws deter and punish, oftentimes they cannot stop a tragedy like this from occurring. Criminal law will take its due on Mr. Correa, and a wrongful death action could provide for a little boy whose parents are lost to this world.
If injured in a motor vehicle accident through the negligence of another, speak with an experienced Jacksonville, Florida personal injury lawyer about your right to compensation.
Attorney Shane Herbert also contributed to this blog post.