Good evening! Welcome to our live chat.
Scott Walter, a former traffic homicide investigator with the Florida Highway Patrol, is addressing what can be done better in DUI manslaughter cases. He says troopers need more training and encouragement to stay in the traffic homicide unit.
“They don’t spend the time that is necessary to getting the training they need and the experience they need. They don’t have that interest to make it a lifelong career to make it the best job they can.”
Sharon Mahar described the frustrating wait for an arrest in her daughter's case. She says the investigator in her case was helpful and courteous, but supervisors weren't as supportive and took weeks to review work. “It’s not a system that’s working well.”
Donald Day talks about what he sees as lack of funding and training for FHP, and slow responses to get back lab results. Says we should be looking at possibility of bringing testing back local, mentioning that Collier County had a local lab about 25 years ago. “When we needed blood tests or fingerprints done, it was done locally and in an expedited manner.”
Sharon Mahar is discussing the hold-ups that she's encountered in the court system, and her frustration with the county-by-county difference in case times.
Donald Day addressing the issue of extradition, which came up in the lead story in our series. Says it's a country-by-country matter addressed by treaties. "It's very, very political."
Scott Walter says some prosecutors he's encountered didn't give traffic homicide cases as much focus as other cases with a death, such as murder. Some prosecutors called it "misdemeanor murder," he said. Added that “I had good cases they wouldn’t prosecute because there wasn’t somebody putting good pressure on them.”
Donald Day says he's "been baffled more than once" when suspects haven't been arrested at the scene. “I’m just saying there are more than enough instances to make an arrest.”
Scott Walter says FHP puts a single lead investigator on a DUI manslaughter case, while other agencies (specifically cites Jacksonville Sheriff's Office) put many investigators on it. "They put personnel on that thing and just flood it with whatever needs to get done.”
Donald Day says Collier County Sheriff's Office will wait at hospital for suspect to undergo treatment, then make arrest afterward. Scott Walter said FHP worries about arresting a suspect before or at hospital because FHP would have to pay hospital bills of suspect.