His passenger died when his car crashed. Here's how a Delray-area man fared in court.
By Julius Whigham II, Palm Beach Post,2023-06-08
WEST PALM BEACH — A suburban Delray Beach man received three years of probation last week after he pleaded guilty to a reckless driving charge in a May 2022 crash that killed a passenger in his vehicle.
Gary Grieser, 29, entered the plea June 1 during a hearing before Circuit Judge Scott Suskauer at the Palm Beach County Courthouse for his role in the Boynton Beach -area wreck that killed Jennifer Fortin, 29.
Suskauer withheld adjudication on a charge of reckless driving causing serious bodily injury on the condition that Grieser completes the terms of his probation. The requirements include:
- Completing 100 hours of community service.
- Completing an eight-hour driving course.
- Attending a victim-impact panel, where people who were injured or had their lives changed by crashes share their stories with someone facing charges to help them understand the magnitude of their offense.
Prosecutors dropped a charge of leaving the scene of an accident causing death.
Vehicle speeding on wet pavement struck concrete pole
"This case was an absolute tragedy," defense attorney Ari Goldberg said, noting that Fortin was Grieser's girlfriend. "It was the last thing that anybody wanted see happen, but the outcome of the case is fair considering what the state's evidence was."
Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested Grieser in October in connection to the May 20, 2022, crash that killed Fortin, who lived near Greenacres.
Deputies said Fortin was a passenger in Grieser's Audi when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed while driving west on Woolbright Road near Lawrence Road in suburban Boynton Beach. The pair had left the Bru's Room Sports Grill near the Boynton Beach Mall minutes earlier.
Grieser was attempting to navigate a curve in the road when he lost control of the car, PBSO said. The Audi spun out over wet pavement and grass going at least 40 mph until its passenger side slammed into a concrete pole. It drifted another 40 feet before coming to a stop.
The front passenger door, floorboard and seat — with Fortin belted into it — had torn away from the car, according to PBSO reports.
DNA match helped place man as driver of car
Grieser left the scene before deputies arrived, returning later and appearing anxious and distraught over Fortin's condition. She was pronounced dead at 6:30 a.m. the following day.
Grieser, who was taken to Delray Medical Center for an injury to his elbow, was uncooperative with investigators, according to his arrest report. He offered no information as to who drove the Audi at the time of the crash.
Forensic analysts later determined that his DNA matched one of two profiles left on the driver's side airbag.
Julius Whigham II is a criminal justice and public safety reporter for The Palm Beach Post. You can reach him at j firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @JuliusWhigham . Help support our work: Subscribe today.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: His passenger died when his car crashed. Here's how a Delray-area man fared in court.