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Drunk Driver Kills 3-Year-Old, Injures Several Others


According to Florida Highway Patrol, a Ruskin man ran a stop sign and crashed into a vehicle full of children, killing a 3-year-old child. The accident occurred just after the man completed probation for drunk driving.

Details on the Accident

According to the Tampa Bay Times, John Lovett Rutland Jr. was driving a 2001 Toyota Camry south on 27th street while intoxicated with his 9-year-old and 5-year-old children in the car.

Rutland ran through a stop sign at the intersection of College Avenue and State Road 674. Rutland crossed over the westbound lanes of a four-lane divided highway and across the median break and crashed 2002 Chevrolet SUV.

The driver of the SUV, 20-year-old Marbella Valencia-Bustos, and her cousin Guadalupe Bustos-Benitez, 30, both of Wimauma, were uninjured in the crash and helped free the other children from the car.

All seven passengers were taken to Tampa General Hospital where Jacob Bustos was later pronounced dead. Two children, Loylo Valencia and an infant, were critically injured.

All five children and two adults in the vehicle were buckled in their seat belts, but the crash still caused 10-year-old Loylo Mirella Valencia and 3-year-old Jacob Bustos to be ejected through the windshield.

Charges Filed Against the Drunk Driver

Rutland had a blood alcohol level between 0.125 and 0.128. The state law states that a driver is impaired when the alcohol level is at 0.08. He was held at Hillsborough county jail without bail on multiple charges including DUI manslaughter.

Rutland Jr. has a lengthy history of arrests and driving infractions, including speeding, careless driving, and shooting a gun out of a vehicle. Court records show he settled an auto negligence suit in 2013 with a woman who said she was seriously injured in a crash on Bayshore Boulevard

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