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Man charged in billiards hall crash released on bond

By Staff | Sep 15, 2015

A driver has been charged in a Cape Coral pool hall crash that killed one and injured others.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office took William Henry Gulliver, 75, of 2230 Palm Ave., St. James City, into custody on Friday at his residence. Cape police then transported him to the Lee County Jail.

“The Cape Coral Police Department major crash investigator completed the investigation and submitted an application for an arrest warrant,” Sgt. Dana Coston said in a statement Friday. “Today, the major crash investigator received notice that the warrant had been approved and was active.”

Gulliver was picked up on a warrant for one count of DUI manslaughter, one count of DUI with serious bodily injury and one count of battery, with three counts of DUI with damage to persons or property.

As of Tuesday, he had been released from jail on $100,000 bond, according to records.

Ronald P. Gravel, 60, of 736 Coral Drive, sustained life-threatening injuries on July 20 at 4:56 p.m. when Gulliver drove a Ford F-250 through the front windows of Diamond Billiards Sportsbar & Grill, at 1242 S.W. Pine Island Road. Gravel was trauma-alerted to Lee Memorial Hospital but later died.

Two other pool hall patrons were hospitalized with injuries as a result of the crash.

Tracy Marie Booker, 52, of 1245 N.W. 37th Ave., was taken to Lee Memorial, while Linda L. Girard, 59, also of 1245 N.W. 37th Ave., was taken to Cape Coral Hospital. Both have since been released.

Gulliver sustained no injuries but was transported to the hospital for observation.

According to the police report, hospital staff conducted a blood alcohol test on Gulliver. At the time, Gulliver registered a blood alcohol content of .402 – more than five times the state’s legal limit.

In Florida, a driver age 21 or over is considered “impaired” with a BAC of .08 or higher.

The truck was parked in the parking lot of Diamond Billiards, facing the building. According to officials, Gulliver entered the truck and after several minutes, drove forward at a high rate of speed. The truck drove through the front windows and the interior and struck the main bar area head on.

At the time, Gravel, Booker and Girard were seated at the bar directly in the truck’s path.

Police reported that the truck hit them, with Gravel and Booker trapped between it and the bar.

According to Ward Huey, the owner of Diamond Billiards, Gulliver was asked by a bartender to leave just before the crash. Gulliver was reportedly bothering some of the women.

Gulliver could not be reached for comment on Tuesday regarding the charges.

He has an arraignment scheduled in court for Oct. 10.

A husband and father, Gravel was the kitchen manager at the pool hall and had been employed for about six years. Diamond Billiards has helped to set up a GoFundMe account for his family.

As of Tuesday, over $18,00 had been donated to “Prayers for Ron Gravel.”

Anyone interested in donating can do so online at: www.gofundme.com/rongravel .