LIGHTHOUSE POINT (CBSMiami) – A Boca Raton man is in the Broward County Jail Friday charged with DUI manslaughter after a crash took a life and injured a Lighthouse Point Police Officer.
Gary Costa faces a total of four charges and is being held without bond for the crash that occurred around 11:45 Thursday night.
According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Costa was heading northbound on Federal Highway near Copans Road in Pompano Beach when he lost control of his 2000 Jeep, hit a concrete median and slammed into a patrol car driven by Officer Mark Riemer.
Costa’s car flipped onto it’s side after hitting Riemer’s patrol car. A female passenger in Costa’s car was not wearing a seatbelt and was partially ejected.
She was pinned and died on scene. Her identity has not been released while investigators try to contact her next of kin.
Riemer and another officer in a separate car had just completed a traffic stop and were preparing to make a u-turn from the southbound lanes of Federal Highway when the crash happened.
Lighthouse Point Police Chief Ross Licata said Riemer thought his life was about to end.
“His words were ‘I saw my life flash in front of me,’” Licata told CBS 4′s Carey Codd. “A large vehicle, which was airborne after it hit a center median, coming right at him and had it come another two or three feet closer to his vehicle; it probably would have come right into his windshield of his vehicle and we’d have two fatalities today.”
Both Costa and Riemer were treated for minor injuries at North Broward Medical Center.
Costa is charged with DUI/manslaughter, DUI with property damage, failure to use due care, and possession of a controlled substance.
Riemer, the agency’s Officer of the Year in 2009, is at home recovering.
Chief Licata said the accident is a reminder of why drinking and driving is so dangerous.
“We can’t stress enough the importance of not driving when you’re under the influence and putting yourself and other people in danger,” he said.