Crime

Driver in deadly 2013 Upper Keys DUI crash sentenced to 10 years

Islamorada firefighters prepare Miles Didier to be put on a stretcher following a crash in May 2013 that killed Didier's friend, then-22-year-old Kristen Rivera. Didier was sentenced Feb. 24 to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to drunk driving and DUI-manslaughter charges.
Islamorada firefighters prepare Miles Didier to be put on a stretcher following a crash in May 2013 that killed Didier's friend, then-22-year-old Kristen Rivera. Didier was sentenced Feb. 24 to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to drunk driving and DUI-manslaughter charges.

A Miami-Dade County man on Tuesday admitted to killing a friend in a 2013 drunk-driving crash in Tavernier following an earlier crash in which he and the victim switched seats in the car.

 

Didier Miles, 24, pleaded guilty to one count of driving under the influence-manslaughter, DUI-serious bodily injury, two counts of DUI-property damage and one count of leaving the scene of an accident.

 

For the death of Kristen Rivera, 22, and the other crimes, Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Luis Garcia sentenced Miles to 10 years in state prison (minimum mandatory of four) followed by two years of community control and then followed by five years of probation.

 

He also has to do 50 hours of community service -- including 10 hours speaking at schools about the dangers of drunk driving. His driver's license is revoked for life.

The case stemmed from a May 13, 2013, crash in which Rivera was killed near mile marker 89.

 

The Florida Highway Patrol said at the time that Rivera, also of Miami, was driving a 2007 Honda Element north on U.S. 1, with Miles as the passenger. The Element was involved in a minor crash with a man around mile marker 85 by striking his car as Rivera pulled out of U.S. 1 heading north.

 

They pulled over, and when the other driver approached Rivera to get her insurance information, she asked if he would instead accept money for the damage done to his car. He declined and turned around to get something out of his car.

 

In that time, troopers say, Rivera and Miles switched seats, so Miles was now driving north in the left-turn lane and struck head-on a Mom's Taxi driven by Charles Akullian, 71, who was traveling south in the right turn lane. That means the Element crossed all the way over the southbound lane.

 

The Honda came to a rest at a utility pole on the southbound side of the highway. The impact of the crash caused Akullian's engine compartment to catch fire. Emergency responders extinguished the flames.

 

Islamorada Fire-Rescue Department firefighters freed Miles and Rivera from the Honda and an air ambulance helicopter flew them to Ryder, where Rivera died that night.

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