POLK COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10)--46-year-old Lucretia Bruno of Lakeland was arrested Wednesday night, November 24, 2021, for DUI Manslaughter (F2), after she struck and killed a Holiday man on Interstate 4 West near mile marker 28 and SR 528. The crash occurred around 8:45 p.m.
From evidence and witness statements gathered, a white 1999 Ford F250 and a black 2014 Ford Mustang had been involved in a minor crash on westbound I4, east of the West 10th Street overpass. Both vehicles were stopped on the north side paved shoulder area, had exchanged drivers' information, and were preparing to leave the area. The driver of the Mustang and his two passengers were sitting inside their vehicle. The driver of the pick-up truck had walked back to the driver side of his vehicle; his passenger was inside the truck.
At the same time, a white 2017 Ford Fusion, driven by Bruno, entered I4 from the US 98 onramp and was observed in the outside lane driving erratically and drifting over the right fog line several times. As Bruno approached the pick-up truck and Mustang, she drifted even farther over the fog line striking the driver's side of the pick-up truck and the driver who was standing at the opened door. The impact of the crash propelled the driver into the Fusion's windshield.
Bruno then crashed into the rear of the Mustang, pushing it forward and causing the driver of the pick-up truck to fall from the Fusion's windshield and strike the bumper of the Mustang.
Bruno's Fusion rotated clockwise and continued west for about 50 feet before coming to a stop on the north shoulder of I4 facing south.
The driver of the pick-up truck died at the scene.
No one else was injured.
Witnesses said that after the crash, Bruno stumbled from her car and had to steady herself by holding on to her vehicle's trunk.
Bruno told deputies that she had just left a bar where she drank 5 or 6 beers, and she was on her way home.
According to the affidavit, Deputies smelled alcohol on Bruno, her eyes were watery, and her speech was slurred. Deputies observed Bruno to be unsteady on her feet, she swayed from side to side, lost her balance several times, and would raise her hands away from her side to help steady herself.
Bruno consented to a blood alcohol test; the results are still pending.
"There is never an excuse to drink and drive. A family has lost a loved one because of this woman decided to get behind the wheel of a car after consuming 5 or more beers. There are so many alternative options available, from calling a a friend or family member to using a ride sharing application. Please, this holiday season, and throughout the year, don't drink and drive," said Grady Judd, Sheriff
Bruno was transported to the Sheriff's Processing Center and arrested for DUI (M1), 2 counts of DUI with Property Damage (M1), and DUI Manslaughter (F2). She is currently in the Polk County Jail with no bond.
Bruno is a secretary at Padgette Elementary School.
The center and outside lanes of I4 in the area of the crash were closed for about 6 hours during the investigation, which is still ongoing.
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