Thomas Michael Cifrodella of Acreage, Florida was arrested on Thursday for his involvement in the DUI crash that led to the death of Alford “Jamie” Scardina and seriously injured Angel Digiovanni.
Cifrodella, 36, is being charged with DUI manslaughter and DUI causing serious bodily harm. He is being held without bond at Palm Beach County Jail. His bond hearing is scheduled for July 10. The press did not list an attorney for him.
According to the arrest report, the alleged crash occurred at 8:20 a.m. on January 12 at an intersection between Key Lime and Avocado boulevards in West Palm Beach. Cifrodella was reportedly driving a Chevrolet Cobalt south on Avocado when he drove through a speed bump, rumble strips, and a stop sign at the intersection of Key Lime and Avocado without slowing down.
Scardina was eastbound on Key Lime in a Ford E250 pickup. He had the right of way when he reached the intersection, but because Cifrodella failed to stop when he reached the stop sign, he crashed into the passenger side of the other man’s vehicle at 37 mph, sources allege. The impact pushed Scardina’s pickup into a utility pole.
Scardina was seriously injured in the collision. He was taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center, where he died the following day. Digiovanni was a passenger in Cifrodella’s vehicle; the two were reportedly dating at the time. She was also taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center with serious injuries and was discharged on February 6.
A sample of Cifrodella’s blood that was drawn shortly after the crash reportedly contained traces of marijuana, anti-anxiety medications, sedatives, and pain-relief medications, sources indicate. A toxicologist purportedly told investigators the drugs must have impaired Cifrodella’s ability to drive a vehicle.
Scardina’s sister, Nicole Scardina, reportedly told the press she was angry that the car accident that killed her older brother was preventable.
“I’m angry about it all, but at the same time I feel sad for him,” Nicole Scardina said. “If he goes to jail, his life is ruined, too, because of some stupid decision he made.”
DUI manslaughter is committed when a person operates a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, has a BAC higher than .08, and either directly or indirectly causes the death of another person. It is a second-degree felony with a penalty of up to 15 years in prison, 15 years probation, and $10,000 in fines.
Florida’s legislature has passed some of the most stringent DUI laws in the U.S. because of all the fatalities caused by drunk drivers. Florida Highway Patrol and county police departments have a zero tolerance standard for DUI cases, and as a consequence, courts in Florida prosecute an enormous number of DUI cases every year.
As a minimum requirement, anyone convicted of DUI manslaughter in Florida receives a mandatory sentence of 124 months in prison. Possible additional penalties include vehicle impoundment, driver’s license suspension, DUI courses, fines, and community service.