NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodPine Island / Matlacha


MATLACHA CRASH REPORT: New details revealed about the alleged drunk driver

FHP arrests Cody Curtis for DUI manslaughter, among other charges
Matlacha fatal crash diners April 13
Posted at 9:53 PM, Apr 23, 2024

MATLACHA, Fla. — New court documents are revealing more details about the deadly Matlacha crash, leading to the arrest of an alleged drunk driver.

On April 13 around 5:45 p.m., Florida Highway Patrol responded to That BBQ Place on Matlacha after reports of a crash. Troopers rushed to the scene and found five people had been hit by a car, allegedly driven by Cody Curtis of Cape Coral.

Of the five people, 80-year-old Mary Lou Sharpe died at the scene. Four others were rushed to the hospital for severe injuries.

Troopers say Curtis also hit a parked motorcycle and another truck, which likely stopped Curtis from driving any further.

According to the probable cause affidavit, troopers say they placed Curtis in the back of a patrol car and one indicated to another trooper that there were signs of impairment.

The report says a trooper reported a strong alcoholic odor coming from the back of the car where Curtis was. They said he had bloodshot watery eyes, slurred and stuttered speech, and said Curtis would repeat his statements multiple times.

They said at times, Curtis would be "bawling one moment and then the next moment he would be calm."

Documents state Curtis agreed to a voluntary blood draw at first, but later withdrew his consent. Troopers say they started the process of a search warrant for his blood and DNA, which was granted by a judge about four hours after the crash.

However, his blood was not taken until about 10:10 p.m. by a paramedic, which was about four-and-a-half hours after the crash.

Those results came back on April 19, the court documents state. It showed Curtis allegedly had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.137% and the legal blood alcohol concentration limit in Florida is .08%.

Troopers say they asked Curtis if he wanted to have a voluntary interview with detectives, which they said Curtis agreed to.

In the interview, the report says Curtis admitted to be the only person and the driver of the vehicle. He claimed to have checked his phone for a notification when the crash happened and said he did not know what he hit.

The report says he said people were yelling at him and they kept him in the driver's seat of the car.

Curtis told troopers, according to the report, that he had been at Phuzzy's Boat Shack in St. James City with a co-worker prior to the crash.

In the report, Curtis says he got to the restaurant around 1:30 p.m., had two beers and a sandwich before leaving after 4 p.m.

Two days after the crash, the report says troopers went to the restaurant to locate video of Curtis. On April 16, a manager sent the trooper a clip of the footage of a man matching the description of Curtis, the report says.

The video shows Curtis leaving at 5:33 p.m. the night of the crash and the report says a man matching the description of Curtis could be seen at the side parking lot "lifting his head up and subsequently sway backwards ultimately losing his balance and stumble backwards a few steps before regaining his balance."

The report says Curtis accelerated out of the parking lot in the car involved in the crash.

On April 16, the report says troopers identified an eyewitness with video showing the car swerving and ultimately hitting the people outside the restaurant.

Troopers spoke to all the surviving victims of the crash at the hospital.

The injuries were far more serious than originally reported. Some of the injuries included broken bones, head injuries, severe leg injuries, fractured ribs and more.

A Lee County judge set bail for Curtis at $252,000 on Tuesday and ordered him to wear an ankle bracelet that would monitor any alcohol consumption.