Driver who killed two men in Fort Lauderdale charged with DUI

07/03/2013 1:46 PM

07/03/2013 1:47 PM

A Fort Lauderdale woman was arrested Wednesday and charged with DUI manslaughter after a toxicology report revealed her blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit when her Porsche plowed through a parking lot and killed two men in mid-June, according to the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.

Alyza Rachel Russell, 22, was taken into custody without incident nearly three weeks after the accident.

Toxicology reports revealed her blood alcohol level to be 0.17 on June 13, when she lost control of her 2012 Porsche Panamera in downtown Fort Lauderdale, near the Center for the Performing Arts.

Killed were Mackendy Jules, 30, and Samuel Artez Martindale, 35, both of Fort Lauderdale, who were hanging out in a parking lot.

According to police, Russell was driving west on Broward Boulevard around 2 a.m. when she attempted to make a left turn on Southwest Fifth Street. The car hopped the curb and went crashing through a hedge and into Jules and Martindale.

“It was like a scene out of a movie,” Michael Lacey, who saw the crash unfold, told the Herald in June. “I heard a screech and a loud crash.”

The first man who was sitting on the curb, he never saw it coming, Lacey said.

After Russell’s vehicle struck the first man, it hit the second who was standing with his bicycle, dragging his body through the parking lot.

A third person sitting on the curb was able to escape the out-of-control Porsche. Police will not be releasing the person’s name, or that of the other two passengers in the vehicle, until after the investigation is complete. Red light camera footage that caught the accident on tape will also not be released until after the investigation is complete.

Russell has been charged with two counts of DUI manslaughter, two counts of unlawful blood alcohol level manslaughter, one count of DUI property damage and one count of unlawful blood level property damage.

Court records revealed that she had previously been charged for driving without a license and for driving without lights in June 2012. She drove a 2009 Porsche at the time. She pleaded no contest and adjudication was withheld, according to court records.

Before her Facebook page was taken down after the accident, Russell was listed as studying international relations at American University in Washington, D.C., and attending Leysin American School in Leysin, Switzerland. She worked for Interiors by Steven G. in Fort Lauderdale, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Russell is being held at the Broward Main Jail.

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