The 19-year-old who was behind the wheel in a fatal crash last month in Wellington was over the legal blood-alcohol limit, according to a Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s Office report.
Dana McWilliams of Connecticut was driving her Chevy Camaro south “at a high rate of speed” on South Shore Boulevard about 11:30 p.m., Nov. 25 when she lost control of the car, according to a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office report. The vehicle barreled across the road’s landscaped median, hitting several trees before coming to rest.
McWilliams and her front-seat passenger, 21-year-old Christian Kennedy of Iowa, were declared dead at the scene. Another passenger, 24-year-old Elaine O’Halloran, was critically injured.
McWilliams’ blood-alcohol concentration was .083, according to the report. Florida’s legal limit for adults over age 21 is .08. For those underage it is .02, putting McWilliams at four times the legal BAC for her age. Her cause of death is listed as “craniocervical dislocation,” a severe spinal injury, caused by “blunt impact to the head and neck” sustained in the crash.
Kennedy’s BAC was higher at nearly .13, according to a medical examiner’s report. His cause of death is listed as “blunt force injuries of head.”
McWilliams and Kennedy were not wearing seat belts, the PBSO report said.
PBSO launched Operation Wild Stallion, a crackdown on DUI and underage drinking in Wellington, at the beginning of December in response to the crash. Deputies are stepping up traffic stops and have an increased presence on Wellington’s main roads, including Greenview Shores and South Shore boulevards.
Wellington officials also kicked off a community effort last week, hosting a roundtable at Village Hall that included members of the equestrian community, representatives of restaurants in Wellington that serve alcohol, village staff and council members and PBSO.
Following the crash, the equestrian community rallied to draw attention to the issues of drinking and driving and underage drinking. In the past month, prominent equestrians have spoken out about the dangers and called for increased awareness and education.
There also has been a push to expand a free-ride-home program now offered at The Grille, a restaurant that is a popular spot for members of the equestrian community.
The Get Home Safe service launched in 2016 in response to the alcohol-related fatal crash that killed two other rising equestrians, 31-year-old Andres Rodriguez and 30-year-old Sophie Walker.
Since Dec. 2, Get Home Safe has added an additional night and added a “celebrity bouncer” feature. The bouncers look for people about to leave the bar and offer rides home, while also offering to drive the person’s car for them.