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Edward McCoy, Lakeland DUI driver who allegedly killed three, appears in court

7:34 PM, May 3, 2013   |    comments
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Mulberry, Florida -- A Lakeland man charged with killing three people in a drunk driving accident last weekend was out of the hospital and in a jail cell.

Edward McCoy, 21, had a blood alcohol level (BAC) so high, it might leave most people struggling to walk, much less drive.

That led the Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd to ask: if McCoy didn't have enough sense not to drink and drive, why did nobody else stop him?

McCoy appeared in court on crutches Friday, having himself broken several bones in last weekend's wreck that killed a couple, another woman and left a man critically injured as they were coming home from a night at the Hard Rock Casino.

Polk detectives were able to trace McCoy's actions that night back to Bob's Bar in Mulberry, where over the course of three hours between about 10:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m., electronic records show he ordered six beers, four shots of Wild Turkey and a Fireball.

"We've also located witnesses who say he was drinking whiskey and beer prior to the crash," said Sheriff Judd.

Judd says after the crash, McCoy's blood alcohol level registered a staggering .23, leading even the Sheriff to wonder, "Why did they let him drink that much when he was that intoxicated?"

We put that question to a worker at the bar, but she declined to comment on camera because the owner is out of town.

Off camera, she said "Casey" - as McCoy is known to the locals - is a regular, and that he was shooting pool that night and that some of the drinks he ordered may have been for others.

"Criminally, you're responsible for your own conduct," said the sheriff, so it's doubtful anyone at the bar would be charged criminally.

But a quick look at an online blood alcohol content calculator shows a man roughly McCoy's size, consuming all of those drinks in a three hour period would still be at .197.

McCoy's BAC level was another 20% higher than that.

A witness tells investigators when she left the bar shortly before 2 a.m., McCoy appeared "buzzed."

"He was worse than buzzed," said Judd, "He was slobbering drunk."

Several attorneys contacted by WTSP 10 News say "Bob's Bar" may at least face civil litigation. Under so-called Dram Shop laws, businesses that sell alcohol to customers obviously intoxicated or even close to it, can be held liable for what happens.

But the criminal responsibility, says Sheriff Judd, lies with McCoy. No one held him down and forced him to drink, he says.

"And we're gonna do our best to make sure he has an appointment with the Florida prison system," said the Sheriff.

McCoy was given a $75,000 bond, $25,000 per count of vehicular homicide.

The court said he would also have to submit to regular drug and alcohol tests, have a curfew, and not be in possession of weapons.

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