Victim traumatized one month after pool hall crash


CAPE CORAL, Fla. – It’s been exactly one month since the driver of a truck slammed through Diamond Billiards on Pine Island Road, killing one and injuring two others. Ron Gravel, 60, a beloved chef at the pool hall, lost his life after being pinned against the bar.

Linda Girard, one of the two women injured in the crash, tells WINK News her life has changed dramatically over the past month. She says the crash was so traumatizing, she doesn’t feel safe stepping outside her door, and has trouble sleeping every night. She also says she’s now afraid of glass, avoiding it as much as possible. When the truck came smashing into the building, shattered glass flew everywhere and Girard remembers landing on top of it on her hands and knees. She says now she doesn’t like standing near windows, or even drinking out of glass cups.

A toxicology report revealed that at the time of the crash, the truck driver, William Gulliver, 75, had a blood alcohol level five times the legal limit. Over the past several weeks, many of you have asked why he has yet to be arrested. This is the response from Cape Coral Police Department spokesperson Detective Sgt. Dana Coston:

We understand the public interest in this case.  Many people heard in news reports that the driver’s blood alcohol level was 5x the legal limit and think that the arrest is a “no-brainer” or a “slam-dunk.”  If this were just a case of DUI, that might be true.  Except, this isn’t just a simple DUI.  Someone died.  When a person sustains a serious bodily injury or dies as a result of a traffic crash, the Cape Coral Police Department opens a Major Crash Investigation (MCI).

Even though this is a crash, it is better to think of a MCI as a homicide investigation that just happens to involve a vehicle.  Major Crash Investigations can take weeks, sometimes months, to complete. Lab work, autopsy, reconstruction, to-scale laser mapping of the crash site, aerial photography (if applicable), measurements of the impact area on the car, forensic examination of the vehicle, compilation of the report, etc. Contrary to what people see on television, these things take time.

Our Officers could have made an arrest that day, but to do so would have been irresponsible. An Officer only needs probable cause to make an arrest- a lower bar than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. However, we only get one crack at this case. The minute the suspect is arrested, the clock starts on the suspect’s right to a speedy trial. When it is time for trial, we get to present the evidence we have…not the evidence that is pending lab work, or is incomplete. So, we can either make a quick arrest and hope all the evidence is in before trial, or we can be methodical and deliberate, and build a complete case that is ready to go, then make an arrest. Time is on our side until the arrest is made. Once an arrest happens, time is on the side of the defendant. An arrest for the sake of saying we made one doesn’t serve the victim, his family, or the community.

This is standard procedure and best practice in traffic fatality investigations.”

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.