Accused drunk driver flees law for 15 years overseas — until trip to Florida, cops say

US

A man accused of causing a crash while under the influence fled the U.S. for 15 years to avoid prosecution, Florida authorities said.

He was arrested after catching a flight to Orlando, according to state officials.

Faisal Javaid was 27 at the time of a 2006 crash in Polk County that left two people seriously injured, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles said in an April 16 news release.

On May 20, 2006, Javaid was driving a Jaguar on I-4 when he lost control of the car, crossed the median and hit a Honda traveling the opposite direction, troopers said. The Honda flipped onto its roof, trapping two people inside, according to officials.

Photos show the Jaguar was “sheared in half.”

Highway patrol troopers said Javaid appeared to be impaired, and a blood test of .129 exceeded the legal limit in Florida, court documents show.

McClatchy News reached out to Javaid’s attorney for comment and did not immediately receive a response April 16.

His trial was scheduled for 2008, but shortly before, he left the country, went to Pakistan, and did not return, officials said. When he failed to appear at his trial, a warrant was issued for his arrest, records show.

In an email exchange between his father and his attorney at the time, his father said he asked his son to come to Pakistan to see his sick grandmother, according to court documents.

The father told the attorney that local authorities in Pakistan prevented Javaid from boarding a flight.

“My son very much wants to come and turn himself in and face the court,” his father wrote in an email. “Since you represent him, I would highly appreciate if you can explain the situation to the prosecutor and resolve this matter with less punishment, possibly with no jail time.”

The Jaguar involved in the crash was “sheared in half” and the Honda flipped upside down, Florida troopers said.

The Jaguar involved in the crash was “sheared in half” and the Honda flipped upside down, Florida troopers said.

He said they were working with an immigration lawyer so Javaid could return to the U.S., but 15 years went by with “no updates,” according to state officials.

They said the victims were left “to wonder if justice would ever be served following the crash, where both had suffered life-altering injuries.”

Then one day in May 2023, troopers got a phone call.

Javaid spent time in Pakistan and Kenya before he caught a flight back to Orlando, where he was arrested on a warrant for failing to appear at his trial, according to the state attorney’s office.

He was booked in Polk County jail and held without bond until his trial, during which he was found guilty, officials said.

Javaid, who is now 45, is expected to be sentenced May 15. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

Polk County is in central Florida, about a 55-mile drive east of downtown Tampa.

What to know about impaired driving

In 2020, nearly 12,000 people were killed in car crashes that involved drunk drivers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 30 people die each day in crashes where a driver is believed to be drunk, the CDC reported.

“Safe driving requires focus, coordination, good judgment, and quick reactions to the environment,” the CDC said. “Any alcohol or other drug use impairs the ability to drive safely.”

A person’s blood alcohol concentration can be measured, and the legal limit for driving in most states is 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter. Experts, however, say even lower levels of alcohol concentration can cause impairment.

The CDC says everyone can help prevent drunk driving with these steps:

  • Don’t let friends drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs.

  • Don’t ride with an impaired driver.

  • If you’re hosting a party, remind guests to plan ahead.

  • Arrange alternative transportation or have a designated driver.

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