Broward County, Miami-Dade County, and Palm Beach County are the top three counties in Florida for hit-and-run car accidents, according to news sources. The overall number of hit-and-run car accidents has risen by over a 25% in the last three years. In 2016 alone, Palm Beach County reportedly experienced 7,694 hit-and-run car accidents, which caused 12 fatalities and 102 injuries.
Hit-and-run car accidents occur when a driver hits another vehicle or a pedestrian and fails to remain at the scene of the accident. The incident is considered a hit-and run crash even if the driver is apprehended or becomes incapacitated near the scene of the accident. While some hit-and-run accidents are truly an accident (a driver may not realize they hit someone), many involve drugs and alcohol. And the results are sobering: Sources indicate that 179 people died after being struck by hit-and-run drivers in Florida last year.
One such case occurred earlier this week, when Oscar Roberto Acevedo of Miami-Dade, Florida was arrested for a DUI accident that occurred last year. Although the case was not a hit-and-run, 29-year-old Acevedo allegedly crashed into a vehicle on Sawgrass Expressway. The crash killed Samuel Anthony Ruiz Jr. of Coral Springs and injured four others, sources report. It is not clear why it took a year for authorities to charge Acevedo, nor is it known whether he sustained injuries in the crash.Acevedo, 29, is now facing charges of DUI causing death, DUI causing serious bodily injury, and reckless driving. A bond of $99,000 has been set for him, and if he is released, he is not permitted to use drugs or drink alcohol while he awaits trial.
The victim, 19-year-old Ruiz, had reportedly been out with friends on the night of March 13, 2016. He and his friends filled two cars, which were both going below the 65 mph speed limit of the freeway; this was purportedly because one of the cars was using a spare tire, and spare tires are not made for high speeds. Ruiz was riding in a 1999 Honda CR-V and did not have a seat belt on.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the crash happened on the northbound side of Sawgrass Expressway near Oakland Park Boulevard. Acevedo allegedly struck the Honda while driving a 2006 Cadillac STS. According to the press, the Cadillac was traveling at speeds of 100.73 mph at the time of the crash.
The Honda reportedly flipped over, hit a guard rail, and caught on fire. Ruiz flew out of the vehicle and purportedly passed away at the site. It is not known whether the other four passengers were wearing seat belts, nor have their identities been released. Two of the remaining victims suffered from burns; one of them sustained brain injuries, while the other broke their pelvis in the crash. Two other occupants of the car sustained minor injures of an unspecified nature.
Because of the pervasive DUI and hit-and-run problems in south Florida, law enforcement officials are taking extra precautions to prevent them, even assigning officers specific stretches of expressway to monitor for potential drunk drivers. Drivers are always asked to avoid driving after drinking and, if an accident should occur, they are asked to stay on the scene of the crash.