Thursday, July 31, 2014

One Dead - Driver Charged With DUI Manslaughter

Driver Hits Two Pedestrians - One Dies Of Injuries

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL. -- A pedestrian was killed and another critically injured as a man charged with driving under the influence is alleged to be at fault.

Christopher Allen Best, 25 of Port Charlotte was northbound in a 1999 Oldsmobile on US-41 in the inside lane approaching the intersection of Melbourne Street. Alexander Velez, 34 of Punta Gorda was stopped in the inside lane ahead of Best, performing road maintenance work. 

Velez's vehicle was equipped with an amber arrow board and amber flashing overhead led lighting. But Best failed to observe the flashing right arrow and struck two pedestrians working in the roadway behind Velez's vehicle. The front of Best's vehicle then struck the rear of the second one. 

Both pedestrians were pinned between the two vehicle, Best's vehicle one rotated clockwise 45 degrees and came to an uncontrolled stop in the inside lane facing northeast. The pedestrians came to final rest in the inside lane in front of  the Oldsmobile. The second vehicle was pushed forward and came to an uncontrolled stop in the inside lane faced northwest.

Dead is Jemel Gardener, 39 of Lehigh Acres. Critically injured was Mark Andrew Caton, 22 of Punta Gorda. 

Best had minor injuries as did his passenger, 6-year old Cayden Allen Best. Chris Best is charged with DUI manslaughter, DUI property damage, and DUI serious bodily injury.

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