Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Carmel on the Case: Car Crash and Drugs
Tonight- a 7News exclusive into the details of a fiery car crash. The driver should not have been behind the wheel. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case with a chilling example of what can happen when drivers are "riding high."
WSVN -- The images are both horrific and heroic. It was a little more than a year ago that rescuers risked their own safety to save a young woman trapped inside a burning SUV in Boca Raton. The 22-year-old was saved and another passenger survived, but the driver died at the scene.
Officer: "This was 100 percent a complete team effort."
It was also 100 percent avoidable.
7News has obtained details of the crash investigation. The report reveals 31-year-old David Mattheu was on drugs and trying to get more drugs in the hours leading up to the accident. According to the report, he had five drugs in his system- among them methadone and oxycodone.
The report says Mattheu "received several medical prescriptions" earlier that day at a pain clinic in Boynton Beach.
According to a male passenger in the car, Mattheu had become agitated as he tried, unsuccessfully, to get those prescriptions filled at several pharmacies. His final attempt was at a Pompano Beach drugstore.
Carmel Cafiero: "According to the report, Mattheu was so angry and agitated when he left here, that on the way out, he knocked over a shelf and then got in the car and took off at speeds hitting 90 miles an hour."
Lt. Tim Frith, Florida Highway Patrol: "I would like to say it was an unusual set of circumstances that led to the crash - it's not."
Florida Highway Patrol Lieutenant Tim Frith says more people are driving while under the influence of drugs.
Lt. Tim Frith: "Four or five years ago, we did not see the amount of cases, that involve oxycodone, or roxies, and Xanax, that are showing up in a lot of the cases."
7News has documented the danger in the driver's seat. With the explosion of pain clinics in South Florida, it became common to see people in their vehicles using drugs and then driving away. And although there are far fewer clinics operating today, this recent video from a local park makes it clear- people who use drugs, and then get behind the wheel, are still a threat to everyone on the road.
Lt. Tim Frith: "Lt. Frith: One wreck, could change everybody's life, forever."
That is if everybody survives.
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