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Man seriously injured in accident improving at hospital

By Staff | Apr 20, 2016

One of the drivers in a recent crash that left one person dead is improving at the hospital.

Francis George Paulette III, 19, of 4520 Vinsetta Ave., North Fort Myers, was listed in fair condition on Tuesday at Lee Memorial Hospital, where he was taken on April 10 after the accident, officials stated.

According to the Cape Coral police, Michael John Getts, 35, of 109 Little Grove Lane, North Fort Myers, was driving a Kia east on Northeast Pine Island Road when he changed lanes in the 2400 block at 11:12 p.m. When he did so, Getts hit an eastbound Chevrolet van being driven by Paulette.

The left front section of the Kia struck the passenger side of the Chevy. The impact redirected the vehicles and both drove off the road. The Kia entered and then exited a ditch, where the driver’s front side hit a tree and came to a rest. The Chevy rolled over, entered the ditch and stopped on its roof.

According to police, a witness was able to stop and remove Paulette and the sole passenger in the Kia from those vehicles, but Getts was pinned inside his. Both vehicles then caught on fire separately.

The Cape Coral Fire Department arrived on scene and the crews were able to extricate Getts.

All three involved were trauma-alerted to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

A report states that Getts had a blood alcohol content of 0.209 and Paulette had a BAC of 0.203.

In the state of Florida, a BAC of .08 or greater is considered impaired.

At 8:33 p.m. April 12, the sole passenger in Getts’ vehicle – Lonnie William Retherford, 36, of Lake Wales – died at the hospital from the injuries that he sustained in the accident, officials reported.

“Due to the death, this case is now classified as a DUI manslaughter investigation,” Det. Nicholas Malone, a spokesman for the Cape Coral Police Department, said in a prepared statement at the time.

As of Tuesday, Getts remained at the hospital in critical condition.