Miccosukee tribe member accused of fatal car crash
MIAMI (WSVN) -- A Florida Miccosukee tribe member is accused of driving intoxicated when his truck collided with another car Wednesday night, killing a Maryland couple.
Robert and Paulette Kirkpatrick were on vacation in South Florida when they were hit and killed by a drunk driver Wednesday night on Tamiami Trail.
Police arrested 54-year-old Thomas Cypress, who, according to published reports, is a member of the Miccosukee Indian Tribe. "They took blood the night of the crash to check for the possibility of alcohol in his system," said Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Pat Santangelo.
According to police, Cypress has had three drunk driving arrests in the past, was driving with a suspended license and intoxicated the night the accident occurred. "Yesterday, the blood results came back, and they were three times the legal limit, and we decided to arrest him last night at about 7:30 p.m." said Santangelo.
Cypress was arrested and handled immediately by FHP. "This individual has at least three prior DUIs, but he is currently on a DUI suspension," said Santangelo.
A similar DUI fatality involving Miccosukee Police, however, was never handed over to the FHP, and the family feels frustrated that Miccosukee Police haven't even told them the name of the supposed culprit.
On Jan. 21, Miccosukee Police took the lead in the investigation of 31-year-old Tatiana Furry's death in a car crash at a location near where the Kirkpatricks lost their lives. Furry's family says her case should have been handled by FHP because it occurred outside of the Miccosukee jurisdiction.
The family says they have not received any information on the driver who killed their daughter. "It has been an absolute nightmare for me and my husband, my sons and my daughter-in-law," said Furry's mother.
The Furry family has hired an attorney for furthers information. "It was a tribal member and inexplicably the tribal police department took over the investigation [with the] exclusion of other authorities, even though they had no legal jurisdictions whatsoever," said attorney Kendall Coffey.
FHP says they have a good working relationship with the Miccosukee tribe. Cypress was charged with two counts of DUI manslaughter for the deaths of the Kirkpatricks.
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