String of Deadly Crashes Devastates Tampa Bay Community

From here on out, Fourth of July will never be the same for the friends and family of . The last any one heard from Nicholas was just as he was leaving a Riverview party when he texted a friend that he was on his way over. He never arrived.

Friends and family spent 2 days searching for Nicholas. The search included spreading the 21-year-old image across social networking sights and begging for information.

Late on Sunday afternoon, local authorities discovered Nicholas’s 2012 Nissan Juke. Based on crime scene reconstruction, the assume that something caused the young man to swerve, and action that sent the vehicle into a ditch where it flipped and eventually struck a tree. Nicholas’s body was pulled from the wreckage.

Nicholas’s mother, Pamela Behringer, used Facebook to share the tragic news with loved once. She posted, “I am in complete shock right now and just ask for as many prayers as you can give today.”

Nicholas’s case was the first in what was about to become a string of deadly holiday weekend fatal traffic accidents. In the Tampa Bay area alone, the police report that eight Florida wrongful death fatalities occurred over the long weekend.

Pinellas County Jail Hours before Behringer went missing, a crane pulled a battered pickup out of Tampa Bay.

Before Nicholas and his Nissan went missing, a small family was using the Howard Frankland Bridge to travel east when they a drunk driver pulled into their lane, striking the family’s GMC Sierra. The force of the impact forced the truck off the road. When police pulled the car from the water, both parent’s had already suffered from a Florida wrongful death. Their son was transported to the Tampa General Hospital where he perished.

The driver was charged with both DUI manslaughter and DUI property damage and was briefly held at Pinellas County Jail before he was released on a $61,000 bail. No matter how the criminal DUI charges are handled, the loved ones of the individuals who were killed as a result of the driver’s drunken actions are free to file Florida wrongful death cases and seek both punitive and emotional damages.

A few hours later, police reported to the scene of a fatal accident where they learned that 28 year-old Chantel Riquelme crashed, head-on, with a Ford Explorer. That accident resulted in 3 additional Florida wrongful deaths.

Alcohol plays a large role in the number of traffic accidents that take place each day and the number increases on the weekends when statistics indicate that approximately one out of three traffic accidents involve drinking. The number increases on holiday weekends. And the Fourth of July has the distinction of being the deadliest weekend of the year.  AAA reports that during the holiday weekend, there’s an estimated 1.8 million cars traveling Florida’s roadways. In 2014, 41 percent of the weekend’s crashes were linked to booze, and in many of these cases someone was seriously hurt or killed.

“On a weekend like this, that’s going to go up,” said Matt Nasworthy, an AAA traffic safety consultant. “When there’s a holiday weekend, especially when that holiday is on a Monday, people tend to make big plans. And some people that don’t plan ahead ruin it for everybody else.”

If one of your loved ones was died as a the result of a drunken car accident, you can honor their legacy by speaking to a Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer and explaining the details of the accident. The Tampa Wrongful Death lawyer will investigate the case and help you determine if you should use the civil legal system to pursue the matter.