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21-year-old driver appears in court for Fort Pierce crash that killed 5

New documents show Tanner Dashner's blood alcohol content was .274 g/100ml after crash
wptv-tanner-ray-dashner-.jpg
Posted at 10:11 PM, Dec 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-19 19:03:44-05

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — The man accused of driving drunk and causing a deadly, fiery crash on Black Friday in Fort Pierce was in court Wednesday morning.

Tanner Dashner, 21, is accused of driving drunk and causing a fiery crash that killed five people in Fort Pierce on Nov. 23 was arrested Tuesday.

He was taken into custody Tuesday, which is 25 days after the deadly crash.

According to a new charging affidavit released Wednesday, Dashner's blood alcohol content less than an hour after the crash was .274 g/100ml, and bottles of Bacardi Superior Rum and Crown Royal Regal Apple whisky were found in his car.

Dashner appeared via television before Judge Alonzo in the St. Lucie West Courthouse around 9 a.m. Wednesday.

The hearing lasted about two minutes. Dashner remained mostly silent, except to answer "Yes sir" to several of the judge's questions.

Investigators said he is facing charges that include five counts of vehicular homicide and five counts of DUI manslaughter. His bond was set at $7.5 million.

On Wednesday morning, a judge said that if Dashner posts his bond, he'll be on house arrest and will be fitted with a GPS monitoring device. He can only leave his house under specific conditions, like medical and legal purposes.

He also can't consume any drugs or alcohol unless they're prescribed by a doctor, and will get random drug testing. He also can't go places where drugs and alcohol are sold as a primary purpose, like bars and liquor stores.

Dashner's attorney declined to comment after Wednesday's hearing.

The Florida Highway Patrol said Tuesday a judge granted a motion for the state’s “Duces Tecum Subpoena," which allowed FHP investigators to arrest Dashner.

The State Attorney's Office explained the subpoena allows them to obtain medical records for Dashner from when he was hospitalized from the crash.

FHP identified the victims as:

  • 27-year-old Kedan D. Tillett of Fort Pierce
  • 21-year-old Anthony Victor of Fort Pierce
  • 16-year-old Anthony M. Martin of Fort Pierce
  • 21-year-old Darien L. Douglas of Port St. Lucie
  • 17-year-old Alexis Chaney of Fort Pierce

Jimmy Paul, a best friend of one of the victims, Kedan Tillett, was glad to see Dashner arrested.

"Uplifted, joy," Paul said.

Sounu Blain’s brother, Anthony Victor, also died in the crash. Blain has one concern following Dashner's arrest.

"I feel like he should have no bond at all," Blain said. "Just don’t even give him the chance to be out to try to do anything."

"He could still post bond and we’re not allowed to be with our loved ones, so just to be justified, I don’t think he should be able to post bond," Paul said.

Charging documents show that investigators have had the results of a blood draw taken within seven hours of the crash for a couple weeks.

They waited to make an arrest after receiving the BAC levels detected closer to the time of the crash.

Those documents also said Dashner was at the On the Edge Bar an Grill before the crash.

Documents cited a Snapchat picture taken that night showing Dashner and two other females, with the caption "sloshed."

Surveillance video at the bar, according to records, showed Dashner taking that picture about an hour before the crash.

Witnesses described seeing Dashner speeding, and "bouncing around on the median," and straddling the lane before the crash.

The report said there is no indication Dashner tried to brake before impact.

Deputy Brian Rhodes, in the document, said he tried to save the victims in the burning car, but couldn’t get past the fire. The deputy then went to Dashner’s SUV, but he was trapped so Fire Rescue crews used tools to get him out and take him to the hospital.

In the days before the arrest, loved ones of each of the five victims sat down with WPTV to talk about their feelings surrounding the fact an arrest had not been made, despite a crash report showing Dashner was driving almost 70 mph over the speed limit and suspected of being intoxicated.

“It’s kind of frustrating, I’m not going to lie. Really frustrating,” said Jimmy Paul, a best friend of victim Kedan Tillett. “You try to say okay, let’s have a peace of mind with all of this. But there’s still no justice.”

Lisan Douglas described the pain her family is experiencing after losing her brother, Darien Douglas. “We don’t even take it day by day. We take it minute by minute.”

Nineteen days after the crash, Attorney John Phillips held a news conference with Chaney’s family, demanding an arrest.

“There’s no question about who did it. This isn’t a mystery to solve.”

Philips released the following statement on behalf of the Chaney family:

Today's arrest of Tanner Ray Dashner is bittersweet for the family of Alexis Chaney. While they are happy the individual responsible for her death has finally been charged and will face the consequences of his actions, nothing can bring their beloved Alexis back. This first holiday season without Alexis will be particularly difficult but her family has vowed to keep her memory alive every day. Alexis' family encourages everyone who consumes alcohol during the holidays and beyond to ensure that they have a designated driver or other mode of transportation available. They don't want a another family to endure the heartbreaking pain and loss they've experienced.

There was a fundraiser for the five victims on Wednesday afternoon at Big Apple Pizza at 2311 S. 35th Street in Fort Pierce. All the money raised through food sales, a raffle, and silent auction will go to the families of the victims.