Captain Scott Patrick Sciple, a Marine Corps captain who has been decorated with three Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for his service, has been charged with DUI manslaughter after a fatal crash on the Florida highway.
Pedro Rivera, 48, was killed in the crash, which occurred at around 4 in the morning on April 25, on Interstate 275, according to the St. Petersburg Times.
Court records revealed that police measured Capt. Sciple’s blood-alcohol content T .255, which is three times the legal driving limit. It was while behind the wheel in this condition that he allegedly drove his Chevy Impala the wrong way on the interstate, and collided with Rivera’s Chevy Malibu.
Rivera was pronounced dead after he arrived at the hospital following the crash.
“This is a horribly tragic case for everyone involved,” said attorney for Sciple John Fitzgibbons.
Sciple was a veteran of four tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He was planning to return to the battlefront to serve a fifth tour of duty at the time of the accident. He was home recovering from injuries before deploying again. Fitzgibbons would not elaborate on Sciple’s war wounds.
He joined the military in 2001, and was stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.
“We are presently examining some very compelling circumstances,” he said of the injury situation, “which may involve legal and medical matters, but I’m not going to discuss those at the present time.”
Rivera’s wife, Carmen, was also injured in the accident, as was Sciple. They were both taken to the hospital in serious condition.
It took so long for Sciple to be charged because the court was awaiting the results of the toxicology tests in the case. This was explained as a standard procedure, according to Florida Highway Patrol Sergeant Larry Kraus.
Sciple was also charged with DUI with property damage or personal injury to go along with the DUI manslaughter charge. He was released from jail with a $25,500 bail.
After the military learned of the accident, Sciple was switched to an administrative role, where he now manages paperwork. This move was not viewed as a punishment, which would allow him to more easily deal with legal issues.