How Did Miami Beach's Joyriding ATV Cop Get Off on DUI Charges?
Derick Kuilan, the former Miami Beach cop who ran over two people while joyriding on South Beach on his police ATV, was convicted of reckless driving charges yesterday but was acquitted of DUI charges. This despite the fact a blood test showed he had a blood alcohol level over the legal limit five hours after the crash.
He now only faces a maximum of five years in prison, half of the 10 total he could have faced if he had been convicted on both charges.
On the night of July 3, 2011 Kuilan was on duty but somehow ended up partying at the Clevelander with a bachelorette party instead in full uniform. At around 5 in the morning, he then offered to take the bachelorette Adalee Martin Jones on a joyride on his ATV up and down the actual beach. While driving without his headlight on, Kuilan ran over Kitzie Nicanor and Luis Almonte. Nicanor ended up losing her spleen and suffered brain injuries.
It wasn't until five hours later that other officers took a sample of Kuilan's blood to determine his blood alcohol level. It came back at 0.088, just over the legal limit. He was fired two days later.
Defense attorneys however argued that a test run on the same blood sample two years later showed a lower blood alcohol level and argued that there was no way to prove without a doubt that Kuilan was actually drunk at the time of the accident. No witnesses came forward to say that they had Kuilan drinking either.
Prosecutors argued that the Miami Beach Police Department had bungled the early handling of the case.
In the end, after two hours of deliberations jurors decided there was enough reasonable doubt to let Kuilan off of the DUI charge. Not so much for the actual crash that left Nicanor with damages that prevent her from working even still. Kuilan will be sentenced later this month.