Gulf Shores man gets 13 years for fatal May drunk driving accident

A man from Gulf Shores, Alabama, was sentenced to 13 years, three months in prison and 6 years, nine months of probation for the May 1, 2010, drunk-driving accident that caused the wrongful death of a 55-year-old man from Navarre. The Alabama man pled guilty in January to charges of DUI manslaughter and driving under the influence of alcohol.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the Alabama man had a blood-alcohol level of 0.16 — twice the legal limit of .08 in Florida — when he headed the wrong way on I-110 in Pensacola on May 1 of last year. Just south of Fairfield Drive, the wrong-way driver slammed into a convertible carrying two men. The man from Navarre was killed in the car accident and his passenger was seriously injured.

According to court documents, when an FHP trooper initially questioned the Alabama man after the fatal accident, he denied that he had been driving, saying that an unknown woman he had met had been behind the wheel. The FHP trooper apparently did not believe him and offered him a second chance to answer his questions about the wreck. He then admitted that he had been driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatal drunk-driving accidents accounted for 32 percent of all traffic deaths in the U.S. in 2009 (the most recent year for which statistics are available). NHTSA estimates that 10,839 people died in drunk-driving accidents last year — an average of one person killed by a drunk driver every 50 minutes.

Source: Pensacola News Journal, “Man sentenced to 13 years for DUI manslaughter,” March 24, 2011