FHP: DUI drivers getting bolder

More arrests on main thoroughfares

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Florida Highway Patrol says people who drive under the influence are getting bolder with the amount of alcohol they consume and where they drive.

"We are seeing a much higher blood alcohol level than what we're used to seeing," Trooper Steven Montiero told News 6.

[READ MORE: Florida's Driving under the influence law ]

The impact of more alcohol consumption can be deadly.

One year ago, Santiago Cano was following behind friends who were on a motorcycle and watched as a drunk driver ran into them.

"It was incredibly graphic. It was a very bad accident," Cano told News 6.
The crash was captured on camera.

A driver turned left on Lake Underhill Road right into the path of his friends' motorcycle.

"Actually seeing it, it was very clear that this was not going to go forward in a good way," Cano said.

In an instant lives changed -- 20-year-old Vanessa Barbella was badly injured and 21-year-old Felipe Medina was killed.

Medina's mother, Doris Lopez, says his death nearly killed her. "Sometimes, I just want to die," she said.
"I just miss him so much and every day is getting worse." The crash happened at the intersection of Lake Underhill Road and Dean Road, something troopers say they're seeing more.

"We're seeing them late at night on our main thoroughfares, on the interstate, places we wouldn't normally see this," Montiero said.

We looked at drunk-driving arrests across Central Florida to find the roads with the most cases.

Of the 514 arrests by the Brevard County Sheriff's Office in 2016, 61 happened on U.S. 1, and 59 happened on Atlantic Avenue.

In Seminole County, of the 184 arrests made by the sheriff's office, 24 happened on State Road 436.

Not only are drunk drivers getting bolder about where they’re driving, they're drinking more, according to troopers.

"We are seeing a much higher blood alcohol level than what we're used to seeing," Montiero said.

"We're now seeing a .23, a .21 -- drivers that have no business even walking to their car, let alone driving them," he said.

Jason Spencer, the driver who troopers say crashed into Medina and Barbella, blew a .237, nearly three times the legal limit, according to the arrest report.

"It's frustrating, Cano said. "Someone got behind the wheel and they shouldn't have and that's why my friend died."

News 6 requested information from all of the counties in our viewing area. We did not receive correct information from Lake or Orange counties. 

About the Author:

Emmy Award-winning reporter Louis Bolden joined the News 6 team in September of 2001 and hasn't gotten a moment's rest since. Louis has been a General Assignment Reporter for News 6 and Weekend Morning Anchor. He joined the Special Projects/Investigative Unit in 2014.