Driver whose passenger died in May 2022 crash charged with DUI manslaughter

  • In US
  • 2023-01-27 21:05:53Z
  • By Ocala Star Banner

A 21-year-old Hernando County man turned himself in at the Marion County Jail on Friday and was charged with being behind the wheel of a car that killed a passenger last year.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers said Desmond Deshawn Brown was booked on charges of DUI manslaughter, vehicle homicide and DUI with property damage.

Jail records show Brown's bail was set at $61,000. The case is being investigated by Florida Highway Patrol Cpl. Justin Bard, who is a traffic homicide investigator.

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Here's what happened on May 28, 2022

According to FHP officials, Brown and the 22-year-old victim, a man from Dunnellon, were traveling in a 2022 Toyota Corolla westbound on County Road 484 approaching a left curve. Instead of following the roadway, troopers said, Brown drove straight, and the vehicle went off the road.

A person riding in this Toyota Corolla was killed in a May 2022 crash.
A person riding in this Toyota Corolla was killed in a May 2022 crash.  

The vehicle struck a fence, a large tree, a guidewire and then hit the fence a second time before stopping.

The passenger was pronounced deceased at the scene, which was not far from Southwest 190th Avenue. The man's name was not released by officials.

Brown was transported to HCA Ocala Florida Hospital for treatment of multiple injuries. He remained hospitalized for a month.

The crash happened shortly before 4 a.m. on May 28, 2022.

Blood alcohol content over the state limit

Although the wreck occurred within the city limits of Dunnellon, the investigation was turned over to the FHP because the Dunnellon Police Department does not have a traffic homicide investigator.

A Toyota Corolla struck this tree on May 28, 2022.
A Toyota Corolla struck this tree on May 28, 2022.  

FHP officials obtained a warrant and secured a sample of Brown's blood after the crash. Toxicology results showed his blood alcohol content was 0.126, which is more than the state's legal limit of 0.08. The victim was not impaired, officials said.

Investigators waited for supporting documents, such as the Medical Examiner's Office reports, so they could close their case.

Brown declined to speak with investigators and has retained an attorney, law enforcement officials said. They said Brown has been cooperative. They were told Brown surrendered his driver's license not long after the crash because he did not want to drive anymore.

The last traffic death in the City of Dunnellon

FHP officials said the men worked together at Cardinal Glass, and both were at work hours before the deadly crash. They apparently left together. It's unknown where they were heading.

Last year, troopers investigated 99 traffic fatalities in Marion. That figure does not include the cities of Ocala, Belleview or Dunnellon.

The last time the City of Dunnellon had a traffic death was in July 2015, when Jerry Max Rose, 71, of Citrus Springs, was killed when the car he was driving hit three parked cars along CR 484.

Contact Austin L. Miller at or @almillerosb.

This article originally appeared on Ocala Star-Banner: Man charged with DUI manslaughter in May 2022 crash off CR 484


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