After nearly three years in prison, former county official LaTorre set for release

April 12, 2014 

After serving nearly three years in state prison for paralyzing a woman while driving drunk, a former director of Monroe County Social Services is scheduled for release this coming Friday.

In 2008, a jury convicted Louise LaTorre, 66, of drunk driving-causing bodily harm. Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Luis Garcia sent him to prison in June 2011, fed up with what prosecutors called LaTorre's baseless appeals.

In the April 15, 2006, crash, LaTorre was driving south in the northbound lane of U.S. 1 at mile marker 8 at 2:45 a.m. His pickup struck Nadezda Bowman's northbound sport utility vehicle head-on, causing it to roll over and come to rest on its side. Florida Highway Patrol Cpl. Gary Dunick testified at trial that he feared Bowman was dead when he reached the scene.

Two separate tests showed LaTorre's blood alcohol level to be .101 and .102. Driving with blood-alcohol levels of .08 or higher is illegal in Florida. Cocaine also was found in LaTorre's system.

Bowman, like LaTorre then a Big Coppitt Key resident, was left paralyzed and wheelchair-bound. She has since returned to her native Czech Republic.

LaTorre left the county job after his arrest.

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