The Irish High Court has ordered the extradition a 23-year-old Florida man wanted in relation to a high-speed single-vehicle sports car crash which claimed the life of a young woman.
Samuel Joseph Tucker, who fled to Ireland after his passenger died in the accident, is wanted to stand trial in the US on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and “DUI manslaughter” after the car he was allegedly driving, a 2017 Maserati Ghibli, crashed in the early hours of June 24, 2017, in Highlands County, Florida.
According to The Irish Times, Tucker was arrested in Mayfield, Cork, in August 2018 on foot of a May 3, 2018 extradition request issued by US authorities.
The accident claimed the life of 22-year-old Alyssa Kay Vice, who was a passenger in the car at the time and was pronounced dead at 3.47am that morning.
The car was traveling at 127mp/h when it hit a pole and subsequently flipped four times, while it was traveling up to 140mp/h during the last five seconds before it hit the pole.
It is alleged that Tucker’s blood alcohol level at the time of the crash was 0.162g/dL, twice the legal Florida drink driving limit.
The court heard an affidavit grounding the extradition application stating that minutes before the crash, a witness, who was with Tucker and Vice, told the police she had asked to be let out the car as Tucker was driving at speeds of between 150 and 170mph.
Tucker faces a minimum mandatory sentence of four years in Florida state prison if convicted of DUI manslaughter.
Tuckers lawyer, Simon Donagh, had previously submitted that there was no corresponding offense in Ireland to driving under the influence manslaughter because of the absence of “mens rea”, or intent, in the US which breached his client’s Constitutional right to a fair trial.
A State normally does not surrender someone unless the offense they are sought for has an equivalent or corresponds to one in their own law.
But, in a 22-page written judgment, Justice McDermott rejected this argument and said he doesn’t believe Tucker’s right to a fair trial would be compromised “in any way” by his extradition.