MULBERRY, FL – The alleged impaired hit-and-run driver who fatally collided with a vehicle on Oct. 23 has been arrested, WWSB reports.
According to authorities, Ernesto Lopez Morales, 32, was operating a Chevrolet Suburban at high speeds, without headlights, on westbound FL 60. As Morales approached the intersection with Espo Dr, he rear-ended a Hyundai Elantra.
The impact pushed the Elantra 600 feet away from where it was struck. Both vehicles came to rest facing west in the eastbound lanes of FL 60.
Paramedics pronounced a 5-year-old dead at the scene of the crash. They transported the driver of the Elantra to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Witnesses saw Morales flee the scene on foot following the crash.
Polk County deputies eventually located Morales. Morales told the officers he had drunk six 32-ounce beers before driving and was on his way to purchase more when the collision occurred. He also admitted to driving without headlights and fleeing the scene.
Further investigation showed that he does not have a license and was in the country illegally.
A blood test showed that Morales’s blood-alcohol level was at .108, which is over the limit of .08.
Morales was arrested for DUI Manslaughter, Driving with No Driver’s License Causing Death, Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving a Death, Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving Injury, and Dui Property Damage. He is currently held at the Polk County Jail with a $22,500 bond.
Kemp, Ruge and Green’s compassionate Tampa fatal drunk driving accident lawyers are here to help if you have a loved one who died following an accident involving a drunk driver. To find out how we can assist in this challenging time, schedule a consultation with us at no cost to you by phone at 727-847-4878 or by filling out our contact form.
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