Drunk Driver Charged With Killing A Miami Heat Dancer Is Out Of Jail

Maybe three deaths a day isn't enough in Florida. An average of three people killed per day is a puny little statistic compared to the seven daily deaths caused by the tsunami of prescription drugs that flooded Florida over the last decade. Nevertheless, drunk driving kills about three Floridians per day, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.   

One of those killed was 22-year-old Nancy Guillermina Lopez-Ruiez, of Plantation, who had just become a member of the Miami Heat dance squad, before a drunk driver struck the back of her motorcycle on September 10, 2010. The impact sent her flying 137 feet and the bike 155 feet, according to a report in the Sun-Sentinel. The alleged drunk, 43-year-old Mario E. Careaga, of Fort Lauderdale, was being held at the Broward County jail after surrendering to authorities on Thursday. He was released on bond the next day.   

Police said that Careaga's blood alcohol levels were three times Florida's legal limit of .08 percent. They took two tests. The first test - taken 90 minutes after the 9:30 p.m. crash on East Sunrise Blvd. - measured .24 percent. The second sample was .23 percent. An officer at the scene said that Careaga stunk like booze, slurred his speech, had bloodshot eyes and swayed from side to side.

But the pretty 22-year-old Lopez-Ruiz is just one of the thousands of lives that have been cut short by drunk driving. Between 2005 and 2009, 5,755 Floridians died in alcohol-related crashes. During that same time period, Broward County averaged about 70 alcohol-related fatalities, the second highest death rate in South Florida, behind Miami-Dade's yearly average of 80 alcohol-related fatalities. 

But of course, we might not notice the destruction and death caused by drunk driving in that dark shadow under the towering wave of opioid abuse rotting South Florida.

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