OKEECHOBEE — A woman who has a history of driving while under the influence has been charged in the death of a local motorcyclist.
A Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) arrest report states Lisa Marie Kramer struck the motorcyclist on U.S. 441 S.E. around 5:20 p.m. Friday evening, Sept. 4, and then fled the scene at speeds topping 100 mph.
That motorcyclist — Clinton Lewis Griffin, 46, of Okeechobee — was pronounced dead at Raulerson Hospital.
Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) reports indicate Kramer, 45, was taken into custody at her residence in the Blue Cypress RV Park, 13801 U.S. 441 S.E.
Trooper Corporal Mark Zook’s arrest affidavit indicates Kramer was charged with failure to remain at a crash involving death, DUI manslaughter and driving while license suspended with a death involved.
Kramer is being held in the Okeechobee County Jail on $325,000 bond.
Assistant State Attorney Don Richardson, who will be prosecuting the case, said in a phone interview Tuesday that Kramer has a history of driving while under the influence.
Mr. Richardson then detailed the woman’s criminal history: on Sept. 4, 2009, Kramer was convicted of DUI in Palm Beach County; on Nov. 3, 2014, she was convicted of driving while license suspended – a misdemeanor; on Aug. 14, 2015, she entered a guilty plea in a Palm Beach County court to charges of DUI with property damage, DUI leaving the scene of an accident with property damage and reckless driving causing injury to person or property; and on Sept. 1, 2015, she was convicted of grand theft-motor vehicle in Palm Beach County.
The prosecutor went on to point out Kramer was given probation on all of her convictions.
She was allegedly under the influence again Friday evening when she reportedly struck Mr. Griffin.
Cpl. Zook’s affidavit indicates Mr. Griffin had stopped his 2006 Suzuki motorcycle on U.S. 441 S.E., and was apparently waiting to make a left-hand turn into the Thornberry RV Park. That RV park is located across the road from VFW Post #10539, 3912 U.S. 441 S.E.
Mr. Griffin, stated an FHP press release, was not wearing a helmet at the time of the incident.
Kramer, continued the affidavit, was southbound on the two-lane highway in her silver 2003 Kia Spectra four door when she struck the stopped motorcycle.
“The defendant’s vehicle struck the rear of the motorcycle which propelled the operator into the air,” stated Cpl. Zook. “After striking the motorcycle, the defendant’s vehicle pushed the motorcycle onto the outside shoulder.
“The defendant stopped her vehicle, backed up and then proceeded south on S.R. 15 (U.S. 441 S.E.) leaving the scene of the crash,” added the trooper.
The report goes on to detail how a witness to the incident followed Kramer southbound at speeds topping 100 mph.
OCSO Deputy Matt Crawford reportedly found the Kia stopped in the 13000 block of U.S. 441 S.E. near the county line.
Deputy Crawford then deployed his K-9, Mick, to find the driver of the automobile. The deputy’s report stated Mick picked up the driver’s scent and went to the south side of the highway, but then lost the scent.
“After speaking with several people who reside in the area, the suspect left the car and went to the south side of the roadway where she was later picked up by a dark-colored vehicle,” stated Deputy Crawford.
Kramer was later found inside her residence at Blue Cypress and was taken into custody.
She was taken back to the scene where OCSO Deputy Stephen Pollock conducted field sobriety tests and then determined Kramer was under the influence.
“There was no odor of any alcoholic beverage on or about the defendant,” stated Cpl. Zook.
Mr. Richardson said Kramer was taken to Raulerson Hospital for a blood draw. He said that sample will be sent to a laboratory for analysis.
Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News