Plea in ''Four Loko'' DUI manslaughter case | Crime
Clearwater, Florida -- Demetrius Jordan, the man accused of driving drunk and running through a red light at a high rate of speed, striking and killing a family of four has decided to take a plea rather than go to trial.
Jordan's defense attorney told the judge that Jordan wants to accept responsibility for the "terrible accident" and does not want to prolong the case any longer.
Jordan pleaded guilty to four counts of DUI Manslaughter and a fifth count for the injuries Jordan's cousin received in the crash.
Investigators say Jordan had been drinking a mix of Four Loko (an alcoholic beverage that contained caffeine-the company has since reformulated its product) and liquor and smoked marijuana before he got into his car that night in August 2010.
That same night, 51-year-old Elroy McConnell and his three adult sons were returning to their rented beach home after a guys night out to see a movie, when their Ford Focus was struck by Jordan's Impala.
Investigators say Jordan was driving 80 miles per hour and ran a red light at MLK Jr. Blvd. and 22nd Avenue North. FDLE determined his blood alcohol was 0.154.
The four men, who were visiting from the Orlando area, were pronounced dead on scene.
McConnell's sons were Elroy McConnell III, 28, Nathan McConnell, 24, and Roy McConnell, 19.
The family released this written statement today: "On behalf of the family and friends of the McConnell men, we ask that the media respect our privacy during this time. No outcome will change this tragedy, one we live with every day. But we do hope these proceedings demonstrate the importance of never, ever driving impaired."
Sentencing is scheduled for July 20th at 1:30 p.m.. He faces a minimum of 44 years in prison, up to life based on sentencing guidelines.
The manufacturers of Four Loko removed the caffeine in the drink in November of 2010, after the crash. The company released this statement: "On November 16, 2010, prior to the FDA's letter, we voluntarily reformulated Four Loko by removing caffeine, guarana, or taurine. We began producing the reformulated version of Four Loko on November 18, 2010. No shipments of our products containing caffeine from Phusion's production facilities were made after November 17, 2010. We were pleased that the FDA commended us on November 24, 2010, for our decision to voluntarily reformulate our products."