Central Tampa Teen Charged with DUI Manslaughter

Tampa Police: Driver ran two stop signs on West Wood Street.

Tampa Police have arrested a Central Tampa teen in connection with a Nov. 20 crash on West Wood Street that killed another driver and seriously injured four passengers.

On Friday afternoon, Charlotte Sowards, 18, of 8701 Willow Ave., was booked into Orient Road Jail on warrants for DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, three counts of driving under the influence with serious bodily injury, three counts of reckless driving with serious bodily injury and one count of DUI with personal injury or property damage.

Police said Sowards was driving a 1997 Cadillac Seville west on Wood Street at twice the speed limit of 25 mph when she ran two stop signs — one at Edison Avenue and one at El Portal Drive. When she ran the second sign, she struck a 1994 Honda Civic.

The driver of the Civic, Jason Plummer, 31, died at the scene and his four passengers were injured. On suffered a serious brain injury, a second suffered a shattered pelvis, a third suffered a head injury and the fourth suffered contusions.

Sowards showed signs of impairment and a sample of her blood was taken at a hospital and her blood alcohol level was 0.74 percent six hours after the crash, police said. Under Florida law, a driver is considered impaired at 0.08 percent.

In addition to the crash-related charges, Sowards also faces misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana and obstruction, according to the Hillsborough County court clerk's website. The records say the charges stem from an offense on Dec. 3. The defendant entered a plea of not guilty on Jan. 3 and enrolled in a pre-trial intervention program.


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