In December, 2011, Garrett Bruce was allegedly drunk and driving at a high rate of speed when he drove off the road and struck a utility pole in Pasco County. Bruce and another passenger got relatively minor injuries. However, another passenger, 26-year-old Patrick Vosbein, who was not wearing a seatbelt, struck the windshield and sustained severe head injuries. Vosbein died a few days later as a result of his injuries. In the car, police found beer cans and glass pipes. Bruce had a blood alcohol level of .103 at the time of the accident, above the legal level in Florida. He was arrested for DUI manslaughter in July, 2012 and posted a $100,000 bail with a bondsman.
This, however, is where the story takes a strange turn. The original bondsman found out from an anonymous tip that Bruce had been looking for fake ID’s and could possibly be a flight risk. As a result, the bondsman sent Bruce back to jail and refused to do further business with him. A different bondsman was hired who did bail Bruce out and made Bruce wear a GPS monitor on his ankle. In early January, Bruce’s wife removed their two children from school and wrote administrators that they would not be back. Shortly afterwards, Bruce removed his monitor. Bruce’s wife soon after left a cryptic voicemail for her family telling them she was ok and she missed them, but did not say where they were. When checking on the home, the family’s car was still in the driveway and there were no signs of the family packing up and leaving. Upon checking with Tampa International Airport, it appeared that the family had not boarded a flight there.
Because they had not used their credit cards or cell phones, law enforcement, bounty hunters and private investigators had a difficult time finding the family. However on February 6, 2014, they were found in Texas by U.S. Marshalls when they stopped to get their travel trailer repaired. The family apparently had no specific plans on where to go, just that they wanted to get away from Florida. Garrett Bruce is in Jail awaiting extradition to Florida and his wife is not being charged with a crime at this time. She is free to return to Florida.
As a result of his disappearance, Bruce’s trial was cancelled, at the time indefinitely. Now that the family has been found, the trial will be back on. However, this time he will most likely be charged with additional charges relating to fleeing the state.
Bruce already faced up to 15 years in prison for the DUI manslaughter charge related to the death of Patrick Vosbein. However, because he’s missed court appearances related to his trial, he is now facing additional charges for Failure to Appear. Because the charge he was facing was for a felony, his failure to appear charge is a third degree felony, for which he could be facing an additional 5 years in jail. Additionally, because of the willful nature of his disappearance in fleeing, as compared to if he had missed the date because of some sort of error; it is entirely possible that Bruce could be facing contempt charges as well. Additionally, Bruce’s bail would have been forfeited as a result of his failure to appear in court, meaning that he is now on the hook to the bail bondsman for the $100,000 that was paid on his behalf.
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