Florida Driver Who Killed 3 Teens Allegedly Smelled of Alcohol and Had Suspended License: Report

May 28, 2019 Updated: May 28, 2019

The driver who hit and killed three teens while they were waiting for a bus was allegedly driving with a suspended license and reeked of alcohol, Miami Herald reported.

Police have not yet formally identified the driver, but Miami Herald sources named the driver as 31-year-old Mariam Coulibaly, an exotic dancer with numerous driving-related citations on her record.

After the accident, she allegedly told medical staff she had been partying all night.

“I came from a black out. When I woke up I didn’t even know that I hurt people,” Coulibaly told the Miami Herald from her hospital bed.

“I shattered my chest,” she said. “I had surgery on my stomach; shattered my hip.”

The three teens—13-year-old Gedeon Desir, 15-year-old Lens Desir, and 17-year-old Richecarde Dumay—were hit at about 5:22 a.m. on May 25 as they were together on a sidewalk.

Investigators cited in the report estimate the woman was driving around 60 miles per hour before crashing into the victims. The teenagers died on impact.

According to Miami-Dade records via the Miami Herald, Coulibaly has received citations for 35 separate infractions in the last decade, including careless driving and running a red light.

‘Really Proud’

The three youths were members of the Little Haiti Soccer Club and were about to take a bus to a soccer tournament, reported CBS Miami.

A GoFundMe page for the boys said they were on their way to play in Weston alongside their friends as members of the under-18 and under-15 teams later that afternoon.

“Last time I see him, Friday night, just me and him going to a restaurant to eat. That was the last time and Saturday morning they call me and say my son dead,” Lens’ dad, Penel Jean Desir, told the media.

Pat Santangelo, a Little Haiti Football Club board member, told CBS Miami that all the three children were gifted athletes, had good values, and studied hard.

A picture of 13-year-old Gedeon Desir, 15-year-old Lens Desir, and 17-year-old Richecarde Dumay. (Little Haiti FC Soccer Club/GoFundMe)

“These three children were the type of kids that any parent would wish their child could be like. We were really, really proud of these three young men, they represented the Little Haiti community very well. They represented the City of Miami very well,” Santangelo said.

Surveillance footage showed grainy images of what happened that morning—the boys were walking on the sidewalk when a car came rushing toward them.

The driver survived the crash and was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Drunk Driving Statistics

On any given day, nearly 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes, according to 2017 figures published by the United States Department of Transportation.

This is equivalent to one lost life every 48 minutes or just over 10,000 deaths per year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of the 1,233 traffic deaths among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2016, 214 (17 percent) involved a driver operating under the influence of alcohol.

More than 1 million drivers were arrested in 2016 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.

Deaths due to drunk-driving have fallen by a third in the last three decades, the DOT notes.

Crash Deaths in the United States

Tens of thousands of people are killed and millions injured each year from motor vehicle crashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says these deaths cost more than $380 million in direct medical costs.

The major risk factors for crash deaths in the US are: not using seat belts, car seats, and booster seats (factors in over 9,500 crash deaths); drunk driving (a factor in more than 10,000 crash deaths); and speeding (contributing to more than 9,500 crash deaths).

According to 2017 data from the CDC, the 10 leading causes of death in the United States were: heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease, and suicide.

death rate statistics
Age-adjusted death rates for the 10 leading causes of death in the United States for the years 2016 and 2017. (CDC)

These further break down as follows: the most common are unintentional poisoning deaths (58,335), followed by motor vehicle traffic deaths (40,327), and unintentional fall deaths in third place (34,673).

The total number of emergency department visits for unintentional injuries in the United States in 2017 was 30.8 million, according to the CDC.

The 10 leading causes accounted for 74 percent of all deaths in the United States in 2017.

Venus Upadhayaya contributed to this report.

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