On Tuesday, July 16th, Alfred McKnight, a 28-year-old Miami native, crashed
his Ford Crown Victoria into a GMC SUV with three occupants. The SUV’s
driver, an 18-year-old woman from New Orleans, lost control when McKnight’s
vehicle struck the SUV at a high rate of speed and sent it into a concrete
guardrail before flipping over multiple times. The crash occurred on Louisiana
Interstate 10 near the Lafitte Street intersection around 11:20pm.
17-year-old Sharmaine White, who was sitting in the SUV’s front passenger
seat, was ejected from the vehicle during the crash and pronounced dead
at the scene by first responders. The 18-year-old driver and another 17-year-old
passenger were transported to a nearby hospital and treated for moderate
injuries. McKnight was alone at the time of the crash and was uninjured.
Authorities detained McKnight after detecting a strong smell of alcohol
on his breath. A police station breathalyzer analysis revealed McKnight’s
blood alcohol level to be 0.117, considerably above Louisiana’s
legal limit of 0.08. McKnight was booked and charged with reckless driving
and vehicular homicide in connection with the crash.
Florida police records revealed this wasn’t McKnight’s first
arrest for DUI. Miami’s Dade county records of McKnight show multiple
drug-related offenses as well as an arrest for DUI and driving with a
suspended license in April of 2008. Public record did not verify whether
McKnight was convicted of either charge.
Due to his prior record, a conviction could have McKnight facing a $15,000
fine with a maximum sentence of 30 years. This does not include a potential
wrongful death lawsuit likely to be filed by White’s surviving family members.