Around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 17, 2013, PCSO deputies arrested 30-year-old Francisco Martinez (DOB 10/4/1982) with no known address, and charged him with three counts Driving Under the Influence.
Martinez was driving a blue 2001 Ford Mustang southbound on Rifle Range Road in the Wahneta (Winter Haven) area at that time, approaching the intersection of 8th Street West, when he lost control of the car and slammed into a tree. Martinez was ejected from the car. His two rear seat passengers, Uriel Tolentino and Jesus Martagon-Cortez (both adults, but Tolentino is of an unknown age, Cortez is 41 years old, and neither have a known address) were not ejected, however, nobody in the car was wearing a seatbelt.
Martinez suffered several lacerations to his face. Tolentino is in critical condition at LRMC and it is unclear at this time if he will survive his injuries. Cortez is in stable condition at LRMC.
An initial hospital toxicology report indicated Martinez had a blood alcohol level of .226 -- further analysis of his blood will be conducted by FDLE.
After Martinez was released from the hospital, he was booked into the Polk County Jail on two counts DUI With Serious Bodily Injury, one count DUI with Property Damage, and one count No Valid DL. He will also be on hold for ICE, as he is in the country illegally.
During the crash investigation, the owner of the car, 56-year-old Bobby Vinton (DOB 10/26/1956) of Winter Haven, walked up to deputies and told them he was driving. He gave two separate sworn statements that he was driving. There were no indications that he had been involved in a crash, and his statements directly conflicted with witnesses' statements that they had seen Martinez ejected from the driver's seat. Vinton eventually confessed to deputies that he had lied about driving because he didn't want his friend (Martinez) to get into trouble. He too was arrested for Giving False Info to Police During a Felony Investigation, and booked into the Polk County Jail.
"Here's another example of how dangerous it is to drink and drive, and an example of why you should never lie to law enforcement. The only good thing about this situation is that this drunk driver didn't crash into another vehicle and hurt anyone else. He and his friends learned a tough lesson this weekend --one that they will pay for, for the rest of their lives." - Sheriff Grady Judd