Patrol says driver that killed 1, injured 14 was drunk
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The driver of a pickup truck was drunk when he crashed into a van leaving a Minnesota Twins spring training game in Fort Myers, killing one woman and injuring 14 others, all from Minnesota, according to authorities in Florida.
Laureen VanReese, 18, of Andover, Minnesota, died at the scene of Tuesday’s crash after she was thrown from the van which rolled over several times, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The 14 injured, including VanReese’s mother and a 4-year-old child, were taken to the hospital with serious injuries, according to the patrol’s report.
The van was heading back to Fort Lauderdale from Fort Myers when the crash occurred about 5:30 p.m. on a section of Interstate 75 known as Alligator Alley.
Law enforcement officers arrested the pickup driver, 30-year-old Nisbany Surit Garcias. Witnesses told police they saw Garcias driving recklessly in a black Ford pickup and that he nearly caused several wrecks in the southbound lanes of I-75 in the moments before the van crash.
The Highway Patrol said Garcias’ blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit at the time of the crash. He was booked into the Broward County Jail after he was treated for injuries at a hospital. Garcias faces charges that include DUI manslaughter and causing bodily injury.