Leslie Joe Zeagler, 30, was charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child, DUI, DUI manslaughter, and driving on a suspended license. She is being held in the Lee County Jail with no bond set. It is unclear if she has acquired the services of an attorney.
According to Fort Myers police, the crash occurred on February 17 on Martin Luther King Boulevard and Rockfill Road. Zeagler was allegedly driving a minivan while under the influence when she blacked out, went off the road, and struck several palm trees in the eastbound lanes of State Road 82.
An unnamed adult female and Zeagler’s three-year-old daughter, Serenity Robinson, were passengers at the time of the crash. The impact caused the child to be ejected from the vehicle; she suffered severe injuries and was rushed to an area hospital, where she was pronounced dead, sources indicate.
Zeagler and the other passenger suffered minor injuries. They were transported to an area hospital for treatment and were later released.
Police said Monday that their investigation revealed there was no child vehicle restraint in the minivan, and Serenity was not restrained at the time of the crash. Zeagler was also found to be under the influence of multiple controlled substances, police said. She turned herself in on Monday.
A new release from the Fort Myers Police Department said:
“The senseless death of Serenity is one that certainly could have been avoided. The Fort Myers Police Department reminds motorists not to drive while impaired and certainly not with a restrained or unrestrained child in the car.”
Serenity is the 12th person to die in an auto accident in Lee County this year. Drunk driving is a top cause of fatal car crashes in Florida. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there were 5,125 alcohol-related crashes in 2017, leading to 350 fatalities.
Florida has some of the most stringent and demanding DUI laws in the nation because of all the deaths, particularly of young people, that have occurred as a result of drunk driving. Law enforcement agencies are required to use a zero tolerance standard when enforcing these laws, and as a result, Florida prosecutes an enormous number of DUI cases every year.
DUI manslaughter is one of the most seriously prosecuted cases in court. It is usually prosecuted as a second-degree felony by default, but it can be enhanced to a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison depending on the circumstances of the case.
Since a DUI manslaughter charge almost always includes at least one grieving family, it is imperative for anyone facing this charge to immediately consult an experienced attorney who can come up with an aggressive but tasteful defense that won’t create additional liability for the defendant.
South Florida DUI Attorney