Saturday, November 18, 2017
Public safety

New Port Richey man charged with DUI in fatal Tarpon Springs crash

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TARPON SPRINGS — When a Dodge Charger rammed into a concrete utility pole at 70 mph last December, the backseat passenger was thrown onto the car's hood and suffered massive head injuries.

After the late-night crash on Meres Boulevard, the Dodge's driver was swaying, slurring his words and being belligerent to paramedics, police said.

Bud Light cans and glass pipes were found in the car. The passenger died in a hospital days later.

On Friday, Tarpon Springs police arrested the driver, 31-year-old Garrett Bruce of New Port Richey, on charges of vehicular homicide and DUI manslaughter.

Blood tests found Bruce's blood alcohol level was .103 at the time of the crash, police said. The state presumes impairment at 0.08.

The man who died in the Dec. 11 crash was 26-year-old Patrick Vosbein of Tarpon Springs, a coworker of Bruce's at Papa John's Pizza in Tarpon Springs.

A second passenger who was in the car, 25-year-old Elliot Lewis of Tampa, told police that they had all started the night at Papa John's, where he also worked. He admitted that they had been drinking beer, but didn't know how much Bruce had consumed.

The fatal crash happened as the Dodge Charger was headed west on Meres Boulevard about 3:15 a.m. on a Sunday.

Police estimate that Bruce had been driving at least 100 mph on Meres before he lost control, went off the road and hit a utility pole near Woodmont Drive at a speed in excess of 70 mph.

Sitting in the front seat, Bruce and Lewis were wearing seat belts. They were treated at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Hudson for non-life-threatening injuries.

Sitting in the back seat, Vosbein wasn't wearing a seat belt. He also was taken to Bayonet Point, where he died three days later.

Mike Brassfield can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4151. Send letters to the editor at tampabay.com/letters.

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