FHP: Darren Soto staffer charged with DUI after crash

By Anthony Leone and Julie Gargotta, Team Coverage
Last Updated: Wednesday, July 12, 2017, 1:32 PM EDT

A staffer for Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto was charged with DUI after being accused of rear-ending a motorcyclist Friday, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  • Cecilia Cruz charged with DUI, child abuse without great bodily harm
  • Cruz says she had 2 glasses of wine at work event, FHP states
  • Motorcyclist suffered fractured skull, FHP says

Cecilia Cruz, who also goes by the last name of Figueroa, is facing a number of charges stemming from an accident that left a motorcyclist with injuries.

Soto released a statement about the accident, saying that Cruz has been suspended with pay.

“I am deeply disappointed in Ms. Figueroa’s actions. We have suspended her with pay pending further investigation and have instructed her to begin alcohol rehabilitation classes immediately,” Soto stated.

The accident happened at about 10:24 p.m. Friday when motorcyclist Zulma Altreche-Cordero was traveling southbound on State Road 417, near John Young Parkway. The motorcyclist was rear-ended by Cruz, who is a legislative assistant to Soto, as she was driving her Nissan Altima, according to the FHP.

Altreche-Cordero suffered a skull fracture, possible broken bones to her foot and hand and was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center as a "trauma alert," FHP described. She's expected to recover.

The FHP arrest report states that Cruz's two children were in the car with her: a 14-year-old who was in the front passenger seat and a 9-year-old in the driver-side rear seat.

The report noted that Cruz, 42, appeared to be intoxicated as she spoke with a trooper.

"I also noticed that her eyes were bloodshot and watery, and at times her speech was slurred," the arresting trooper reported.

Cruz, an Orlando resident, told authorities that she was coming from a work "event," where she had two glasses of wine, and was on her way to a friend's house in St. Petersburg before the accident, the FHP stated. The trooper also noted that an opened and partially full can of beer was found in Cruz's Altima.

The FHP said an alcohol test found that her blood alcohol level was .119. The legal limit in the state is .08.

Cruz was charged with DUI and serious bodily injury to another, driving with a suspected license while causing serious injury and child endangerment.