Two Arrests Following Alcohol-Related Hit and Runs
October 28, 2007
Tampa, FL— The Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s (DBPR) Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (ABT) in partnership with the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) arrested two individuals following three different hit and run crashes by an intoxicated underage driver. The arrests were made as part of the ICARE program which is designed to reduce alcohol abuse in Florida’s underage population by tracing the source of the illegally obtained alcohol.
“We want to protect kids from the consequences of underage drinking, and it is so important for all of us to work together to keep kids safe,” Secretary Holly Benson said. “The ICARE program is essential for ensuring that there are consequences for those who serve minors.”
The investigation began when FHP alerted ABT about an underage driver who had been involved in the three crashes. The 16 year old driver, whose name is withheld because of his age, fled the scene of the first two crashes until apprehended by officials at the location of the third crash. His blood alcohol content was .174. The blood alcohol content for legal-aged drivers is .08. The juvenile was charged with three counts DUI and leaving the scene of a crash.
The driver admitted to drinking on the night of the crashes at the residence of a friend, Matt Hoffman. He confirmed that 19 year old Hoffman knew that the minor was underage. Hoffman admitted to providing the 16 year old with the alcoholic beverages. Hoffman refused to admit where he obtained the alcohol.
Hoffman was issued a summons by the Polk County State Attorney’s Office, charging him with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and selling/giving alcoholic beverage to an underage person. His arraignment date has been set for November 27.
The primary goal of the ICARE program is to reduce alcohol abuse in Florida’s underage population. The ICARE program partners ABT agents with state and local law enforcement as they investigate alcohol-related incidents. When any type of alcohol-related accident results in the fatality of a minor, ABT agents track the source of the illegally sold or provided alcohol involved. Once the source is identified, ABT will then take appropriate criminal and administrative action against the individual and/or the beverage license.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Alcohol Beverages and Tobacco attempts to keep alcohol and tobacco out of the hands of minors by insuring that all licensed establishments are in compliance with laws and rules regulating the industry, and collects taxes and fees related to these industries.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation licenses and regulates nearly 1,000,000 of Florida’s businesses and professionals.