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Manuel J. Benitez Dead After Crash With Eric M. Alders in Coconut Creek, Florida

Eric M. Alders struck Manuel J. Benitez in a Coconut Creek, Florida DUI accident in May 2012, news sources report. Benitez, a 43-year-old motorcyclist, was taken to the hospital but later died from critical injuries sustained in the crash. Alders, 29, has since been charged with DUI manslaughter, DUI, and DUI with property damage. He was booked into the Broward County Main Jail where he is being held on a $150,000 bail bond. It is not yet clear whether Alders hired a lawyer.

According to reports, this is the second time police caught Alders driving under the influence. Police charged Alders with DUI in a previous incident; the details of that case, including whether anyone was hurt, are not clear. It does not appear that Alders released a statement following his more recent arrest.

Reports say the accident occurred around 2:40 a.m. on May 25, 2012 at the intersection of Northwest 42nd Avenue and West Sample Road. Benitez was riding his silver Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle in the area when Alders silver Lexus crashed into him. Sources did not say whether Benitez was wearing a helmet. The specifics remain unknown; it is not clear who had the right-of-way at the time.

Paramedics arrived at the scene of the crash and rushed Benitez to Broward Health North. The collision injured Benitez badly, and he died at the hospital. Meanwhile, police took Alders into custody and discovered he was under the influence of alcohol during the accident. It is not clear whether Alders has injured in the crash.

Alcohol-related accidents kill hundreds of people in Florida every year. Records show there were 1,424 DUI accidents in Broward County in 2010, with 41 fatalities. Miami-Dade County had even more staggering statistics, with 1,588 DUI accidents that same year. The problem is not isolated to Florida: DUI accidents were responsible for 9,878 deaths and around 350,000 injures nationwide in 2011, statistics show.

MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) released a study showing that DUI accidents varied amongst age groups. “Driving under the influence of alcohol was associated with age in 2010,” MADD’s website says. “The rate was highest among persons aged 21 to 25 (23.4%). An estimated 5.8 percent of 16 or 17-year-olds and 15.1 percent of 18 to 20-year-olds reported driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year. Beyond age 25, these rates showed a general decline with increasing age.” Alders is currently above this age danger zone when he crashed into Benitez.

MADD’s website, represented by FARS statistics, shows that Florida ranks number 24 in states with the most DUI-related accidents. In an effort to stop DUI-related accidents, Florida has enacted a number of laws that inflict strong penalties on those caught driving under the influence. These penalties include hefty fines and jail time. Florida police also exercise due diligence on dates when drunk drivers tend to take to the streets, including New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July. Only time and future studies will show how effective these measures have been.

Sources: 3.4.13 Alders DUI.pdf.

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