Sheriff Deputy Causes Fatal Crash and Arrested for DUI
A nine-year veteran of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department was arrested after his SUV struck a motorcycle and caused the death of a 20-year-old woman riding on the bike. Deputy Timothy Alan Vaughn was arrested and was being held on almost $80,000 bond. He eventually posted bail and is no longer being held in jail, although his trial has yet to begin.
Alexandria Marler, known as Ally to her friends and family, was riding as a passenger with Zachary Morris. The pair were riding north on Highway 41, behind another couple riding on a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Deputy Vaughn’s SUV was behind Marler, but in a different lane. He veered over into the lane occupied by the motorcycle, and struck it. Both Zachary and Ally were thrown off, but Zachary was thrown clear.
Ally was thrown to the road, and then struck by the SUV. The couple riding the Harley Davidson were not harmed. Ally was treated on the scene and then taken to Blake Medical Center, as was Zachary. Ally was pronounced dead on arrival, although Zachary sustained only minor injuries.
Neither the Highway Patrol nor the Sherriff’s Department has released a statement, and the full report on the accident will be available to the public in 60 to 90 days. Vaughn managed to post bail several days after the accident, and has been released on his own recognizance.
He faces a number of charges, including DUI manslaughter, DUI personal injury, and two counts of DUI personal property damage. He has also been fired from his position at the Sheriff’s Department, a decision the department made as soon as it learned of the accident and Vaughn’s arrest (along with the details of his blood alcohol content, which have not been officially released to the public).
Ally Marler leaves behind a two-year-old daughter, as well as many friends and family stunned at her loss. She was a gymnastics coach at South Florida Gymnastics for about 11 years before leaving to pursue her passion for competitive horseback riding. She won numerous awards as a competitive rider.
“Ally was an amazing mother and an amazing friend,” stated her best friend, Stephanie Kinworthy. “Knowing she is no longer here, it just really sucks. What’s really sad is she was killed by some drunk idiot whose job it is to protect people.”
Vaughn’s court date is set for some time in June. According to press coverage, he told authorities that he’d consumed an entire six-pack of beer prior to eating dinner around 6 PM, and had nothing else to drink that night. The accident occurred after 10:30 PM. However, an unconfirmed report of his blood testing puts it between .20 and .19 at the time of the arrest (after the accident). The state considers a driver drunk at .08, so Vaughn was at more than twice the legal limit when he got behind the wheel. Once again, according to press coverage, Vaughn is seeking a trial by jury and has pled not guilty to all the charges he faces. That might be a move made strictly on the advice of his attorney, as the BAC test and the results of his actions speak for themselves.
DUI is something that can affect anyone, of any age, and from any walk of life. For both drunk drivers and those whose lives are affected, it’s a tragic, terrible thing. Think before you get behind the wheel even if you don’t believe you’re impaired, and remember that it’s more than your own life you’re taking in your hands.