On Sunday, February 9, 37-year-old Shawna Smith’s vehicle was rear-ended and overturned on I-75. and the other driver took off.
Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officials say the crash happened just north of Big Bend Road, around 7 AM. 32-year-old Alberto Vigo of Bradenton was also heading north on I-75, and was attempting to pass Smith’s Jeep. He hit the back of her vehicle, which then overturned into the grass. Smith was ejected from the Jeep and died at the scene.
After the crash, Vigo kept driving until his Ford shut down about three miles down the road. He quickly abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot. Officers later found him near a corporate building in Riverview and arrested him on charges of DUI manslaughter, leaving the scene of a crash involving death and driving with a suspended license involving a death. FHP is investigating whether alcohol was involved in the accident.
In 2016, there were 5,223 alcohol-related car accidents in Florida, 417 of which involved fatalities. Another 617 accidents were caused by drugged driving, 291 of which were fatal.
Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to avoid impaired or reckless drivers. However, sometimes vehicle safety can also be an issue. Jeep Wranglers have a poor safety record, with a 27.9% chance of rolling over in an accident like this one. They also have poor ratings in side crash tests.