Man Arrested for Fatal Boca Crash Gets Off With Just a Slap on the Wrist

Man Arrested for Fatal Boca Crash Gets Off With Just a Slap on the Wrist

WEST PALM BEACH, FL — A Boca Raton man who was arrested in connection with a fatal car accident in 2021 has pleaded guilty to driving recklessly. This means he won’t have to go to prison.

At about 8 p.m. on Nov. 27, 2021, Miguel Oduardo, 60, and Eric Brown, a motorcyclist, collided at the intersection of Yamato Road and Northwest Fifth Avenue in Boca Raton. Police in Boca Raton say that a blood test showed that Oduardo’s blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit for being drunk in Florida.

Investigators from the police said that Oduardo didn’t give way when he turned his Toyota Tundra pickup left onto Northwest Fifth. This caused him to crash into Brown’s westbound Kawasaki motorcycle and throw the 40-year-old rider to the ground. The person who lived in a suburb of Boca Raton died soon after at Delray Medical Center.

At first, Oduardo was charged with DUI manslaughter, but as the investigation went on, clues pointed to something else.

“We hired a person who specializes in figuring out how accidents happened. There are some problems with this,’ “said Michelle Suskauer, Oduardo’s defense attorney.

Suskauer said that witnesses at the scene told police that they could see the motorcyclist before the accident, but during the deposition, they said the opposite was true. The bike was a trick bike that had been changed so the rider could stand on the gas tank. It didn’t have a headlight, but it did have two flashlights that were added later.

Suskauer said that the traffic homicide and toxicology reports showed that Brown was high on illegal drugs and may have been going too fast.

“That, along with the fact that there were other witnesses, really didn’t help the state’s case for DUI manslaughter,” said Suskauer. “After the depositions were taken and the state found out what had happened, we were able to solve the problem. I think it’s great that the state did the right thing.”

Suskauer and Assistant State Attorney Storm Tropea talked the charge down from DUI manslaughter to reckless driving causing serious bodily injury, which is a third-degree felony with a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

In exchange for Oduardo’s guilty plea on Friday, and in line with the attorney’s plea deal, Circuit Judge Howard Coates withheld adjudication, which kept Oduardo from becoming a convicted felon.

Coates put Oduardo on probation for three years. During that time, he has to go to DUI school, finish an eight-hour defensive driving course, and do 100 hours of community service. Suskauer said that Brown’s family agreed to the deal.

“Sometimes, things really do just happen by chance,” the lawyer said afterward.

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