A man was arrested Tuesday after an investigation that deputies say identified him as responsible for a 2021 DUI crash on Pine Ridge Road that hospitalized him and two other people in Collier County.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a four-vehicle crash was reported on Pine Ridge Road just west of Napa Boulevard at around 6 p.m. on June 3, 2021. Michael Alberto Restrepo, now 36, was driving a 2005 Buick Century west in the inside lefthand lane of Pine Ridge Road approaching the I-75 overpass. A 2018 Volkswagen Jetta was directly in front of the Buick, a 2019 Nissan Rogue was in front of the Volkswagen and a 2007 Dodge Ram 3500 was directly in front of the Nissan, all traveling in the same direction.
The three vehicles in front of Restrepo’s Buick were slowing for traffic, going at around 5 mph as they approached a red light at the I-75 junction, but Restrepo was traveling at 45 mph or faster and failed to slow down. He rear-ended the Volkswagen, sending it forward to hit the Nissan, which spun counterclockwise and hit the Dodge. FHP says the resting place of the Dodge, facing the wrong way like the Nissan, shows that the driver tried to avoid the crash before being struck.
Restrepo and the man driving the Volkswagen were both med-flighted to Lee Memorial Hospital due to the seriousness of their injuries. The man driving the Nissan was transported to Physician’s Regional Hospital on Pine Ridge Road by his mother who arrived at the scene after the crash. The Ram’s driver declined medical attention.
After the crash had been cleared just before 8 p.m., troopers went to Lee Memorial Hospital to make contact with Restrepo and the Volkswagen driver. A social worker and a doctor said Restrepo had a blood alcohol level of .213. During the follow-up investigation, Lee Memorial medical records were obtained for the Volkswagen driver, who sustained a traumatic brain injury, multiple rib fractures, a subarachnoid hemorrhage, an L3 vertebral fracture, and a tiny right pneumothorax (collapsed lung). He was not discharged from Lee Memorial Hospital until two weeks after the collision.
Based on the lack of skid marks at the scene of the crash and the information provided by medical staff, troopers believed that Restrepo was impaired when he crashed. A subpoena for medical records was requested through Collier County, but it was denied, and Restrepo was issued a citation for careless driving and adjudicated guilty by Judge Michael J. Brown on March 30, 2022.
A follow-up investigation began once FHP learned additional evidence would be needed to seek medical blood. A witness who had spoken to troopers at the scene provided a sworn written statement that Restrepo was the only occupant in the vehicle that was being driven fast and recklessly. She said she stopped to help out and made contact with Restrepo, who was stuck inside the car and yelling for help. The witness said she smelled alcohol coming from the driver’s side window.
Based on the new information, a second request for medical records was approved by Collier County, and they showed Restrepo had a BAC of .213.
Restrepo was arrested on Tuesday and faces charges of DUI, DUI with serious bodily injury, and four counts of DUI – property damage.