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April 1, 2015

Each year roughly 10,000 people are killed in alcohol-related accidents. That accounts for 31 percent of the deaths from motor vehicles each year. That does not account for the huge number of people who are injured each year in drunk driving accidents. The victims suffer debilitating injuries that cost the United States $59 billion each year.

Life changed for Jessica Cartagena when she was crushed in a drunk driving accident in Orange County. The accident took place on February 25. In the evening, Cartagena was outside the Oasis Liquor store on Rio Grande Avenue. She was outside her car on her cell phone when the accident occurred.

Moments earlier, 23-year-old Steven Lartiga had walked into the liquor store. He was noticeably intoxicated. Lartiga had touched a woman in the store inappropriately and was approached by a store clerk. The clerk asked him to leave, and Lartiga became agitated. He eventually left the store.

Lartiga walked out to his car and started to back out of his parking space. He put the car into drive and accelerated, hitting a parked car that was two parking spots down from where Lartiga was parked. The parked car slid several feet sideways and crushed Cartagena between two cars. Lartiga then sped away from the accident, apparently unconcerned about the injuries that he caused.

Emergency personnel and Florida Highway Patrol responded to the call. Cartegena was taken to a local hospital where rods where placed in her legs. She was released a day later and faces months of rehabilitation, as she is unable to walk.

A video of the security footage from the liquor store clearly shows Cartegena back his vehicle up, pulling forward and slamming it into the other vehicle. A woman races out of the store after the accident, trying to help anyone who had been injured. She appears to be telling the clerk at the liquor store to call 911.

Law enforcement officials were able to get enough information about Lartiga’s vehicle. They located him later in the evening. He was arrested and released on a $2,500 bond. He faces multiple charges stemming from the accident.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Florida auto accident, contact the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A. immediately at 888-FLA-AUTO (888-352-2886)) for a free initial consultation.

James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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