Two Miami-Dade police officers were struck by a suspected DUI driver going the wrong way on Sunday morning. All three of the involved persons were hospitalized and are currently listed in stable condition. Authorities identified the suspected DUI driver as Jovary Hill. The names of the officers have not been released.
According to the police report, the crash took place at 4:30 a.m. near SW 157th Avenue and 164th Street. Hill, 30, was reportedly driving a Volkswagen Jetta north in the southbound lanes of the avenue when he crashed into the officers, who were patrolling the neighborhood in a police cruiser.
Both cars were badly damaged. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Capt. Jack Swerdloff told news sources that the officer driving the cruiser was trapped in the car for more than an hour. He had to be extracted from the vehicle and airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center. Hill and the other officer were taken to Jackson South Community Hospital.
“When we get a call like this, it certainly is a little shocking when we arrive and we see that it is a police vehicle involved,” Swerdloff told the press. “The guys may be amped up a little bit more when they see that it is one of our brothers in battle, so to speak.”
Investigators believe alcohol may have been a factor in the crash.
“We do believe that the driver might have been under the influence of some type of alcohol, so that’s still part of the investigation, “ said Miami-Dade Police Detective Robin Pinkard. “We don’t have a speed right now, but we do believe that DUI might be a cause.”
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Florida had 61,852 DUI arrests in 2015. The majority of DUI-related crashes occur on Friday or Saturday, between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m.
DUI causing serious bodily injury is classified as a third-degree felony with a penalty of up to five years in prison or five years of probation, and a $5,000 fine. The charge must consist of three elements: the defendant was in control of a vehicle; while driving the vehicle, the defendant was under the influence of alcohol with a BAC of .08 or higher; and the defendant’s driving caused or contributed to causing serious bodily harm.
As a minimum requirement, anyone convicted of a DUI must receive a combined sentence that includes DUI classes, community service, vehicle impoundment, driver’s license suspension, fines, court costs, and restitution to compensate the victim of his or her losses when appropriate.
Due to all the deaths, particularly of young people, that have occurred in the state because of DUIs, the Florida Legislature has passed some of the most demanding DUI laws in the country. There is a zero tolerance standard in the enforcement of these laws, and as a consequence, Florida prosecutes a large number of DUI cases every year. If you have been arrested on a DUI charge, don’t proceed without the representation of a qualified criminal attorney.