Try to remember this before you drink and drive

The Aftermath (WSVN-TV)

The Aftermath (WSVN-TV)

Today, I represented a pair of clients who had been charged with DUI.  According to the breath tests, both were over twice the legal limit.  Luckily for them, they had not hurt or injured anyone or themselves.   And because it was their first offenses, I was able to resolve their cases without jail or license revocation.

But sometimes, drinking and driving doesn’t lead to such a neat resolution.  Sometimes it destroys lives.

And this story, about a young woman named Karlie Tomica, and the man she killed, Stefano Riccioletti, is as good of an example of how a night of partying can have repercussions that will be felt for decades and decades.

From the NY Daily News:

Karlie Tomica was arrested Tuesday morning after being pulled over by cops who had received a call around 6 a.m. that the reckless 20-year-old had hit a man outside a Miami Beach restaurant.

The man, a locally famous chef named Stefano Riccioletti, flew about 30 feet in the air following the impact of Tomica’s 2007 Dodge 4-door. Medical personnel pronounced him dead on the scene…

Jairo Fuentes, who witnessed the whole incident, followed Tomica, as she sped back to her apartment, and called 911.

“Someone just got hit by a car and the car kept going and the guy hit is laying on the concrete and is not moving,” Fuentes told the emergency operator.

“I’m actually just following a car that just hit a man on Collins Avenue. As far as I know, at this time, she must have killed him,” Fuentes continued, according to NBC Miami.

“The lady is really drunk, she just came out of the car,” he added. “She’s outside the car; she’s really drunk.”

Cops arrived soon after Tomica got to her home in the Mid-Beach neighborhood of Miami and took her into custody. At the time of her arrest, Tomica reportedly was slurring her speech, reeked of alcohol and wasn’t able to walk straight. She also refused a sobriety test.

Tomica was charged with driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident but was released 8 hours later on $10,000 bond.

Ms. Tomica, who according to news reports is 20 years old (and therefore not legal to drink alcohol) liked to tweet.  On her twitter profile she called herself the “party princess” who was “living the dream.”  Her last tweet before this accident was on January 20th, when she tweeted “Good things are coming my way!!and I couldn’t be more happy” How wrong she was.

tomicaHer tweet before that was “God I love bartending” and in several other tweets she claimed to be drinking.  Again, she was underage.

The man she killed, Stefano Riccioletti, was a locally famous chef, who had worked at top restaurants in New York and Miami.  He was married and had three children, who will likely struggle to understand how it is that their lives could be so devastated by someone so young and foolish.

As a father and husband, I feel for Mr. Riccioletti and his family.  How unfair is it to have your life taken away in an instant by some complete stranger?

And as a human being, I feel sorry for Ms. Tomica.  She is 20 years old and was expecting an exciting and happy future.  And she could have had it, if only she had called a taxi instead.

So before you get behind the wheel when you know you shouldn’t, think of Karlie and Stefano.

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