MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Court documents obtained by CBS 4 News show a Coral Springs firefighter is under investigation for DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide in connection with a St. Patrick’s Day crash on the Florida Turnpike that killed a Georgia man visiting South Florida with his wife and friends to celebrate his 30th wedding anniversary.
Search warrants show that Sean Marlin, 24, told the Florida Highway Patrol that he dozed off and had been drinking prior to the crash that killed John Hawkins and injured his wife, Angela Richardson Hawkins. The crash occurred at mile marker 57 on the Turnpike, near Sunrise Boulevard.
On St. Patrick’s Day, Angela said the group left Key West and headed towards Atlanta. They stopped for a moment on their motorcycles on the Turnpike near Sunrise Boulevard. Angela said a truck barreled towards her and John as they were talking.
“I heard horns blowing and it hit us, me and John both,” she said.
John was thrown down an embankment and Angela suffered injuries when her motorcycle landed on top of her. She frantically looked around for her husband.
“I’m still screaming, ‘Where’s John?’ Cause I didn’t see John,” she explained.
Angela yelled out to a friend for help.
“I said ‘Tom, will you please just tell me if John alive?’ and he said, ‘No,’” she said.
Since then, Angela’s life has been filled with the pain of losing the love of her life, a man she’s known for 40 years. She said she and John were one.
“I realized that my oneness wasn’t here anymore and that was hard for me,” Angela said. “It’s harder now because I can’t find my place without John. I don’t know how to start living without him.”
The Florida Highway Patrol says Sean Marlin was driving the truck that hit the couple. The Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department confirmed that Marlin is a firefighter paramedic with the agency. In a search warrant obtained by CBS 4 News, it shows Marlin is being investigated for DUI Manslaughter and Vehicular Homicide. The investigator wrote, “Corporal Julio Torres detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage and bloodshot glassy eyes upon arrival on-scene and during interaction with Suspect Sean Marlin.”
The warrant says Marlin told FHP he attended a St. Patrick’s Day festival with co-workers in Delray Beach. It was not a city-sanctioned event. “(Marlin) also advised he was ‘dozing’ off while driving home from the festival. After dozing off several times he stated that he struck the group of motorcycles stopped on the outside shoulder,” the investigator wrote.
According to the warrant, “(Marlin) stated he had consumed a couple of alcoholic beverages from cups at the festival. The drinks at the festival were served out of tents and suspect stated that a couple was consumed at the beginning and then later.”
Coral Springs suspended Marlin with pay.
“The city of Coral Springs does not tolerate employees who violate the law and, again, this is just an allegation at this point. If it does turn in to a criminal charge then again we will look at it further to determine what we’re going to do with him,” said Mike Moser, Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department Division Chief.
Moser said Marlin has been a model employee.
“He has had no disciplinary issues in the 3 years he’s worked here,” Moser said. “He has had several commendations. He is a good employee.”
Angela Hawkins wants justice for a man who touched the lives of many and worked tirelessly to better himself and those around him.
“How can someone go out and save lives every day but take a person’s life in one day?” she said. “That’s hard for me to understand. And to take my husband while we just minding our own business on our 30th anniversary, I don’t understand.”
Hawkins’ brother, Paul, is struggling with John’s death.
“He had a heart that was unbelievable,” Paul Hawkins said. “His heart was open. If he saw somebody that needed something, he would extend his hand and show him the way.”
She wonders why Marlin was not immediately arrested and doesn’t believe it’s fair that Marlin gets to go home to his family while she, the couple’s daughter, John’s brother and other loved ones mourn his death.
“Nothing will bring my husband back but (Marlin) should know how it feels not to be able to go home to his momma and his daddy and his family members,” Angela said.
The Florida Highway Patrol tells CBS 4 News this case remains under investigation. Investigators are still awaiting blood alcohol results and no charges have been filed.
The Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department said they might soon bring Marlin back to work on a modified basis — handling administrative duties — not driving a fire truck or treating patients.
CBS 4 News tried to speak with Marlin but we could not locate him.