Sadly, automobile accidents are a common occurrence these days in the Southernmost City. Last Saturday’s car/scooter accident on Truman and White was tragic, leaving a Delray Beach police officer dead and a second officer seriously injured, and according to the initial police report, released on Thursday, the driver of the car may have been under the influence of alcohol and marijuana.
She was hysterically crying and being consoled by a friend when Key West Police Officer Jesse Young arrived on the scene. According to Young, the driver, Lacy Morris, 31, of Sugarloaf Key, smelled “faintly” of alcohol and her eyes were “extremely red, glassy and bloodshot.” And there was a “barely-smoked” marijuana joint on the driver’s side floorboard of the 2006 beige Nissan she’d been driving.
The two Delray Beach officers, who’d been heading outbound on a 2014 Yamaha Zuma Scooter, were laying on the street. It was approximately 1:30 am. “[Christina] Braswell was lying on her right side in the fetal position and [Bernenda] Marc was lying next to Braswell, face up.” Both had pulses but when the officer checked further he noticed Braswell’s breathing was “shallow and agonal” while Marc’s breathing was “shallow, but consistent.”
When questioned, Morris told Officer Young that she’d been driving the Nissan westbound on Truman Avenue and went to turn into the parking lot of the Dion’s Quick Mart because she and her companion, Kerby Brown, 43, of Fort Lauderdale, “wanted to get some fried chicken.” She told the officer she’d seen Braswell and Marc on the scooter driving towards her and that they were traveling at a high rate of speed. She said when she started the left turn into Dion’s, she believed the scooter was “quite a distance away.”
“Morris expressed that she felt Braswell had plenty of time to stop the scooter and allow her into the parking lot. Instead, Braswell crashed into the Nissan,” wrote Young. But the officer had observed a 20-30′ long skid mark leading to the crash site that had been created by the scooter.
“By Morris’ statements of the speed she thought the scooter was driving and her thinking the scooter was at a greater distance than it was made me believe she was possibly under the influence of marijuana. The effects of marijuana can effect an individuals ability to properly judge distance and time,” the officer wrote.
Officer Kevin O’Connel, who was investigating the Nissan while Officer Young was interviewing Morris, signaled for Young to come over to the vehicle. “The closer I got to the Nissan, I could smell an odor of burnt and unburnt marijuana emanating from the interior of the Nissan. Officer O’Connel located a fresh, but barely smoked, marijuana cigarette on the driver side floorboard,” wrote Young in his report.
Morris reportedly refused to take field sobriety tests or provide a blood sample. Officer Young telephoned Assistant State Attorney Nick Trovato, who specializes in DUI prosecutions. Trovato immediately left his residence and headed to the crash scene. Young and Trovato drafted and signed an affidavit requesting a search warrant and arranged to see the “on call” Judge [Mark Jones] at his residence. Jones signed a judicial warrant allowing Morris’ blood to be drawn immediately at the scene. Morris was released pending the toxicology test results, which could take several weeks.
Officer Christine Braswell, 40, a 12-year veteran of the Delray Beach Police Department, lost pulse in the ambulance on the way to the hospital but paramedics were able to revive her and she was stabilized on the way to Jackson Memorial’s Ryder Trauma Center. She died on Saturday night, “surrounded by the love and care of her parents, her DBPD family and many heartbroken friends,” wrote the Delray Beach Chief of Police, Jeffrey Goldman, on his Facebook page.
Delray Beach Officer Bernenda Marc, 25, was transported by air to Jackson South where she is recovering from critical injuries.
Key West Police Department is investigating.Incident report below: