DUI crash on BG Causeway causes damage to boat, cars

March 16, 2018
By Marcy Shortuse

A local landscaper was arrested for driving under the influence after a reckless driver call turned into an accident on the Boca Grande Causeway on Friday, March 9.
At approximately 7:10 p.m. a Charlotte County deputy reported he was dispatched to the area of Placida Road and Cape Haze Drive for a call of a reckless driver heading south on Placida Road. As the caller was still on the line with the dispatcher, they said the driver turned right onto the Boca Grande Causeway. At 7:15 p.m. it was reported the vehicle was involved in an accident involving multiple vehicles on the Causeway.
According to reports, the Charlotte County deputy arrived on the scene at 7:27 p.m. and found one person, an island resident who had been towing his 24-foot Yellowfin bay boat traveling north on the Causeway. He advised the deputy that he observed a red Ford coming at him southbound in the northbound lane, which then swerved off the road to the right and came back onto the road, colliding with his boat on the trailer.
According to the reports, after the red Ford collided with the boat on the trailer it continued across both lanes of traffic, left the roadway and crashed into some trees on the southbound side of the Causeway. Upon approaching the vehicle the deputy made contact with the driver, Luis A. Mendoza, 34, of Nokomis, who said he was not injured. The deputy reported he could smell alcohol on Mendoza, and he appeared to be thick-tongued and his speech was slow. Mendoza told the deputy he did not have a driver’s license.
Because of Mendoza’s condition at the scene, a DUI investigation was begun, and he was placed under arrest on suspicion of driving while impaired. He was taken into custody and transported to the Charlotte County Jail after stopping at Bayfront Hospital in Punta Gorda to make sure he was all right. At the jail Mendoza blew a .138. He was cited for DUI-property damage, driving on a suspended license (third or subsequent offense) and issued citations for careless driving and failure to provide proof of insurance.
While a monetary damage report was not issued by Charlotte County sheriff’s deputies, damage to the boat was quite significant.