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Motorist injured in fatal traffic accident released from hospital

By Staff | May 18, 2016

A motorist has been released from the hospital following a recent fatal accident in Cape Coral.

Michael John Getts, 35, of 109 Little Grove Lane, North Fort Myers, had been discharged Tuesday from Lee Memorial Hospital, where he was taken on April 10 after the crash, officials reported.

According to police, Getts was driving a Kia east on Northeast Pine Island Road at 11:12 p.m. when he changed lanes in the 2400 block. When he did, Getts struck an eastbound Chevrolet van.

Francis George Paulette III, 20, of 4520 Vinsetta Ave., North Fort Myers, was driving the van.

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 of the Kia. Each vehicle then caught on fire.

The fire department arrived on scene and crews were able to extricate Getts. All three involved were trauma-alerted to Lee Memorial with life-threatening injuries.

Paulette has since been treated and released from the hospital.

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,” Detective Nicholas Malone, a spokesman for the Cape Coral Police Department, said in a prepared statement at the time.

The investigation continues.