The Florida Freeway Patrol plans to station extra troopers within the Perdido Key space to fight drunk driving after two staff from the identical resort have been each killed in separate suspected DUI crashes lower than three months aside.
Cylea Lyrio, 62, was killed by a suspected drunken driver in a crash March 7 alongside Perdido Key Drive. On Saturday, Stacy Wells, 56, died when one other driver, additionally accused of driving below the affect, ran a cease signal at Bauer Street and Gulf Seaside Freeway and collided along with her automotive.
Each ladies have been driving residence from work on the Perdido Seaside Resort in Orange Seaside, Alabama, on the time of the crashes.
That double tragedy led a former bartender on the resort to create an online petition Monday calling for DUI checkpoints and an elevated legislation enforcement presence within the space.
FHP officers realized in regards to the petition Wednesday morning and pledged to begin holding unannounced particulars on each weekdays and weekends with not less than two to 3 troopers in an effort to revive security to the neighborhood and the hospitality staff who typically drive residence late at night time.
“Two troopers are already on their option to Perdido Key to assist arrange a brand new initiative to assist clear up this downside,” FHP spokesman Lt. Jason King instructed the Information Journal on Wednesday afternoon. “The brand new initiative goes to begin now.”
That was welcome information to Rebecca DeOliveira, who created the web petition.
“I am thrilled, and I respect everybody sharing and signing the petition in order that we could possibly be their voice,” she instructed the Information Journal on Wednesday.
Perdido Key hospitality staff have anxious about drunk driving for years
DeOliveira, who labored on the resort for 2 years earlier than leaving in the beginning of the pandemic, mentioned she grew to be shut buddies with each Lyrio and Wells, in addition to lots of the different hospitality staff within the space.
“I’ve labored at Triggers for a decade. I’ve labored at Lillian’s Pizza. I am buddies of all of the house owners of bars and eating places out right here,” DeOliveira mentioned, referring to the Perdido Key neighborhood. “There’s a complete neighborhood of us out right here that work within the meals and hospitality trade. So we’re touring residence late at night time when the drunk drivers are out.”
DeOliveira mentioned that for years, she and her co-workers have spoken about how an absence of a police presence on the roads out and in of Perdido Key has made drunk drivers daring sufficient to “suppose that they’ll get away with it.”
“Any approach you exit of Perdido Key, you’re going to be on an extended stretch of poorly lit freeway,” she mentioned. “They’re all single lanes. Individuals journey at a excessive fee of velocity. They’re distracted. Alcohol will get added to the combo, and folks hold dying.”
Brittney Tibbits, who at present works at Perdido Seaside Resort, mentioned lots of her co-workers fear about driving residence from work late at night time.
“Name it a coincidence that this has occurred to 2 of our co-workers prior to now few months if you would like, however as hospitality and meals trade staff, plenty of us are getting off late at night time,” Tibbits mentioned. “We should not have fear about people who find themselves ingesting and driving each time we go away work, however we do.”
Remembering two lives reduce brief
Simply days after her dying, Wells was remembered by co-workers and household as a loving “mother-like” determine who proudly served her nation within the U.S. Military in each Desert Storm and Desert Protect, based on her mom.
“At one time, she was in Bosnia. We have been very proud however very nervous. Nevertheless it was one thing that she simply felt that she needed to do. She was very patriotic,” mentioned Effectively’s mom, Cindy Fortner, 73, of Evansville, Indiana.
Wells moved to Florida about 10 years in the past and began working within the native service trade. She cherished her coworkers at Perdido Seaside Resort, based on her mother.
“That was her second household, particularly the individuals she labored with,” Fortner mentioned. “They actually made her really feel welcome, and the individuals on the resort have been actually fantastic — she cherished each certainly one of them.”
Tibbitts, one of her co-workers, said everyone who worked at the resort was close to Wells.
“Every day, I brought my daughter to work with me, and Stacey always made sure to give her a big hug when she saw her and love on her,” she said. “Stacy was very mother-like.”
Lewis Winn, 37, of Fayetteville, Tennessee, was charged on Sunday with vehicular homicide and failure to remain at the scene of the crash in connection to Wells’ death.
He is accused of running through a stop sign near the intersection of Bauer Road and Gulf Beach Highway and crashing into Wells’ car while she was driving home from the resort at about 2:40 a.m. Saturday.
A witness who arrived at the scene seconds after the collision later told authorities that Winn got out of his car after the crash but refused to take a seat on the ground before then getting back into his car and fleeing the scene. He was pulled over by law enforcement a short distance away.
He was booked into the Escambia County Jail with a $300,000 bond and remained in custody as of Wednesday afternoon.
The driver arrested in Lyrio’s death also remained in custody Wednesday.
Billy Bowman, 30, has been charged with DUI manslaughter, DUI vehicular homicide and misdemeanor DUI with property damage in the March 7 crash on Perdido Key Drive.
Lyrio was a mother of two and a grandmother of seven who emigrated to Pensacola from Brazil 21 years ago in search of a better life for her family.
Shortly after her death, her daughter Frency Moore told the News Journal that she always worried about her mother driving home after a day of working at the resort’s restaurant.
On Wednesday, Moore said she was glad to see that police would be increasing enforcement in the area.
“I am so glad from the response from the Highway Patrol, and hopefully the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office will get on things like this, too, as well as the city of Pensacola,” she said. “Hopefully by working together, all our law enforcement agencies can make this a safe place to live.”
ECSO spokesman Cmdr. Andrew Hobbs told the News Journal that his agency plans to work with Pensacola police and FHP to set up an upcoming DUI checkpoint in Pensacola city limits and hopes to find the resources to set up additional checkpoints in other locations in the county in the near future.
Colin Warren-Hicks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-435-8680.