Additional Charges Bring Solace to Soldier's Family

Statement by Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner on behalf of the Beougher family

The family of an Iraq War veteran killed in a hit-and-run holiday accident praised law enforcement and the State Attorney's office on Thursday after multiple alcohol-related charges were brought against his accused killer.

Ashley Brooke East, 25, was charged with DUI manslaughter for the death of Staff Sgt. Daniel Beougher, 23, who was killed in a North Fort Myers traffic crash on Dec. 8. East also was charged with DUI with serious bodily injury and DUI with personal injury for critically injuring Beougher's wife, Lauren Beougher, as well as a passenger in the truck East was driving.

"I just feel relief that they finally brought drunk driving charges," said Lauren Beougher, who returned to North Carolina where she continues to recover. "I have been hearing about these charges and waiting for these charges for months."

Danny's brother, Tony Beougher, also praised investigators and the State Attorney's office. "We appreciate everything the investigator and state attorney's office has done and are confident that Ashley East will be brought to justice," Tony Beougher said.

Danny and Lauren were traveling to South Florida to meet family for the holidays after Daniel Beougher returned home from the Middle East, where he served one tour of duty in Afghanistan and two tours in Iraq and received 11 awards and metals, including a Purple Heart.

The couple had been planning a formal wedding ceremony. Lauren Beougher, who was too injured to attend her husband's funeral, plans to return to South Florida next week for the first time since the accident.

"The physical wounds inflicted by this tragedy will heal, but the dangers of drunk driving will persist. The family hopes Danny's death can be used as a powerful message against drunk driving," said Attorney Preston Scheiner, of Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, which represents both Lauren Beougher and the estate of Danny Beougher. "Now accused of driving drunk and without a license, Ashley East must face the consequences of plowing a borrowed, heavy-duty pickup into an innocent couple on their way home for the holidays."

As of Thursday, the five-year Iraq War has claimed the lives of 4,036 American soldiers. By comparison, 16,855 people in the U.S. died of alcohol-related crashes in 2005 alone, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

East, who fled the scene, was arrested getting off a Greyhound Bus in New Jersey and brought to the Lee County Jail on Jan. 18. She also faces seven other charges, including leaving the scene of an accident involving death and two counts each of leaving the scene of an accident involving injury, leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage and driving without a driver's license causing serious injury or death.

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