A young woman from Miami was convicted of vehicular homicide for hitting two motorcyclists with her car, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Oct. 16. Dominique Brice, 26, was found guilty Oct. 14 of killing the two motorcyclists through reckless driving. Fritz Doucet, an off-duty North Miami police officer, and his friend, West Palm Beach computer technician Raul Ortiz, were headed to Bike Week in Daytona Beach when they were hit by a speeding Brice. Brice and her defense lawyer had argued that another vehicle forced her car out of control, and that she was just changing lanes. She faces up to 30 years in prison when she is sentenced Nov. 25.
According to a witness, Brice was driving on Interstate 95 at greater than 80 mph and cutting off other vehicles in traffic, causing the witness to call 911 and report a reckless driver. At the same time, Doucet and Ortiz had pulled to the side of the highway and seemed to be looking at a map, the witness said. When Brice’s car slammed into them, the force knocked both men into the bushes and broke the motorcycles into pieces. The article does not say whether Brice or her passengers, who included her brother and her two young children, were hurt. Doucet left behind children of his own, a girlfriend and other relatives; Ortiz is survived by a sister, Carmen Sanchez of New Jersey.
As a Coral Springs auto accident lawyer, I hope reports like this raise public awareness of the terrible dangers of speeding and reckless driving. These issues don’t get the attention that drunk driving or texting and driving typically receive, but as this article illustrates, they can be just as deadly. Our vehicles may be able to go 80 mph or faster, but drivers can’t increase their reaction times to match the faster speed of the vehicle. That means that any unexpected event in front of the vehicle can be deadly, leaving the driver no time to react. The dangers can only be compounded when drivers engage in the weaving and quick lane changes attributed to Brice, described in this article as “like a NASCAR race.” The terrible truth in an accident like this is that the victims could be anyone around the reckless driver — that is, they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
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