Former pro football player charged with DUI manslaughter in Jacksonville crash

A former professional football player living in Jacksonville was arrested last week and charged with DUI manslaughter for his role in an accident that killed a Louisiana man last month. Police say Dann Rockne Lute, 53, failed to see traffic backed up on Butler Boulevard about 5:15 p.m. when people were lined up exit onto Hodges Boulevard, an area that is typically congested at the time of day, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Lute rammed into the back of a sport-utility vehicle and killed the driver, the newspaper reported. The two cars in front of the man Lute hit were also damaged in the chain-reaction and one of the drivers had minor injuries, the newspaper reported.

Lute is now charged with Florida DUI manslaughter, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. He is also charged with three counts of DUI causing property damage, one each for the three cars that were damaged in the wreck. All three property damage charges are Jacksonville misdemeanor counts. It’s the manslaughter charge that is by far the most serious of these Jacksonville DUI cases and the one that will receive the most attention.

Typically when a person is charged several weeks after the crash like Lute is – the accident was Dec. 13 and he was arrested Jan. 10 – there is some sort of test that has come back to warrant the charge. In Lute’s case, it is likely a blood test that revealed his blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit of .08, though nothing in the newspaper report indicates that’s the evidence. But, as a Jacksonville DUI attorney, a month is about the standard time for results to be tested by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and returned to the police in a case of this magnitude. One significant difference in a case when an injury or death is involved is that police can take the blood of a driver, whether they consent or not. That is in stark contrast to a standard, Duval County misdemeanor DUI where a driver can refuse to do submit to a breath test, which often limits the evidence prosecutors will have to prove at trial the defendant was intoxicated. So in a DUI manslaughter case, not only are the stakes higher but the defense can also be limited because the blood test is a piece of the evidence. Not to mention, juries tend to see blood results as more accurate than breath tests anyway.

Our Jacksonville DUI attorney has represented hundreds of people charged with DUI – some who’ve had blood drawn, others who’ve take breath tests and still others who’ve refused all tests. Our Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer knows the DUI laws inside and out and will thoroughly review your case to make sure police followed all of the necessary procedures when investigating your case.

If you or a loved one needs a DUI attorney in Duval County or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Jacksonville DUI Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.