Woman in Cape Coral arrested for DUI, drove car into canal with 3-year-old passenger

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Lisa Marie Ribblett, 29. Credit: Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

Last Saturday, Cape Coral Police Department arrested Lisa Marie Ribblett, 29, after she drove a car into a canal in south Cape Coral and was found to be drunk at the time.

According to CCPD, Ribblett was driving with a passenger and also had a 3-year-old child in the back seat of the car without a seat belt when the car went into the water.

Police responded to the intersection of Rutland Court and Versailles Drive, just south of Cape Coral Parkway, near where the car went off road.

The toddler suffered a bruise to the forehead in the crash. According to investigators, the older passenger inside the car said Ribblett had been drinking at Cape Coral Yacht Club before driving the passenger and the toddler home.

We went to the scene Wednesday, where the seawall was still damaged from where the car crashed into a canal.

“I heard a loud bang, and the house shook a little bit,” neighbor Jeff Kennedy said.

The sun had already set last Saturday night around 7 p.m. when neighbors heard a car crash into the canal.

“I saw through the trees there,” Kennedy said. “There was a flashlight on a red car, you know, and I’m like, ‘What the heck is that?’”

Kennedy took pictures. He says the people inside the car had to crawl through the back door because the front doors were underwater.

“There’s no brake marks,” Kennedy said. “There’s a little something here, but she literally hit that and then the car went up and over.”

Other neighbors told us their community is a place where families walk their dogs and ride their bikes, so it was unsettling for them to see what happened.

“To make the decision to drive after you’ve been drinking with a 3-year-old in the car, that’s not a clear minded person,” neighbor Jon Cassidy said.

According to CCPD, Ribblett’s blood alcohol level was 0.203, which is more than twice the legal limit.

“I’ll pray for her,” Cassidy said. “I really hope that she does find the help that she needs.”

Ribblett faces a charge for DUI with damage to property and two counts for DUI with blood alcohol level of 0.15 or higher, accompanied with a person under 18 years old.

Ribblett was taken to Lee County Jail and posted $4,000 bond. She is schedule to appear in court in December.

Some nearby neighbors would like street lights installed to help avoid crashes like this one in the future. A neighbor also said they would like to see reflectors put up where the car went into the canal.

“At night, it is pitch-black here,” Kennedy said. “You don’t see anything.”

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

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