Cape Coral man arrested after deadly DUI crash in Fort Myers Beach

Published: January 28, 2022 7:49 AM EST
Updated: January 29, 2022 11:34 AM EST

A man from Cape Coral has been arrested following a deadly DUI crash in Fort Myers Beach on Thursday night.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Jorge Rivera, 31, was driving his 2016 Chevy Equinox south on Estero Boulevard around 9:30 p.m.

At a first appearance hearing on Saturday, a judge set Rivera’s bond to $100,000.

A 54-year old woman from Adrian, Michigan, was riding a bicycle south on Estero Boulevard, in the bicycle lane, near Dakota Avenue. The Chevy rear-ended the bicycle, throwing the woman onto the shoulder of the road. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Now, many bicyclists who frequent this route say, her death has confirmed their fears. That the bike lanes along Estero Blvd are much too narrow. So they often just stick to the sidewalk.

Estero Blvd is congested. There are often many cars and not nearly enough space. But trying to ride a bike along the road, at any time, can be extremely tight.

Robert Sturky is a bicyclist who lives on Fort Myers Beach. “These bike lanes are just too close to the main road. And there’s cars that have swerved into the bike lane and we’re constantly yelling at cars,” said Sturky. 

After the crash, Rivera drove his Chevy off the road and collided with a mailbox on Estero Boulevard before stopping. He was placed under arrest soon after and transported to the Lee County Jail, where he remains in custody.

While crash investigators were working that scene, they were able to arrest another intoxicated driver, Denise Karda. She attempted to drive into the closed section of the road.

Bob Sperry also lives on Fort Myers Beach. “We knew something serious had happened my wife saw the ambulance,” Sperry said.

That’s why so many bicyclists told WINK News they just avoid the bike path altogether and use the sidewalk. The bike lane is simply too narrow.

Donna Grazul is a seasonal resident of Fort Myers Beach. “There’s a lot of traffic and not everybody’s paying attention so I just feel safer on the sidewalk,” Grazul said.

“Between people on their phone and then it doesn’t matter if it’s two in the afternoon or night time people are on vacation they’re drinking so we’re just always hyper-aware of the motorists,” she said

Rivera faces a charge of DUI manslaughter.