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Florida driver admits to drinking, texting and crashing

Florida driver admits to drinking, texting and crashing. When a Florida driver's mind is divided between a cellphone and the road ahead, the consequence can be a fatal car accident.

Add alcohol to distracted driving and you get the self-told story of a New Port Richey suspect, picked up recently for multitasking his way into a four-car crash. The 33-year-old defendant admitted to authorities that he had been drinking before slamming into the back of a vehicle stopped at a U.S. 19 intersection.

The Dodge Ram driver advised police that text messaging also might have contributed to the motor vehicle accident that didn't injure anyone, but caused more than $21,000 in property damage. Texting while driving is legal in Florida. Driving with blood alcohol levels at or above 0.08 is not.

The construction worker's blood alcohol content, tested twice, registered both times above 0.14.

The DUI defendant told police he stopped at a bar and drank three light beers in an hour and a half. Around 9 p.m., the driver's Dodge Ram rear-ended a vehicle at the U.S. 19 and Main Street intersection. The collision eventually damaged four separate vehicles.

New Port Richey police say the Dodge driver was dazed and smelled like alcohol when they arrived at the scene. Bloodshot eyes and slurred speech led police to test the driver for alcohol use. An arrest was followed with a charge of DUI and three additional charges for DUI while causing property damage. The suspect was freed from Land O'Lakes jail after posting $2,000 bail.

Authorities say texting and driving is not illegal in Florida, unless a driver's actions are determined to be careless. In several states, driving while texting is considered to be a negligent act and can distract motorists from driving safely.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, "New Port Richey driver accused of drinking, texting before crash," Lisa Buie, July 4, 2012

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