Guilty as Charged in DUI Manslaughter Case

Benjamin Joseph Desjardine, 43, was found guilty as charged with two counts of DUI Manslaughter and three counts of DUI Damage- Person/Property. A jury returned the guilty
verdict this afternoon, following a trial in Glades County.

In 2018, the defendant was temporarily working in Glades County. He resided in Iowa, Louisiana. On January 4, 2018, he was driving his 2005 Dodge Ram truck on County Road 721 when he drove into the oncoming lane of traffic. This caused another driver, in a 2005 Ford Five Hundred, to swerve, to avoid the truck. The vehicle struck a guardrail and came to a stop.

The defendant continued driving in the wrong lane and then collided with a 2017 Hyundai Sonata, with two occupants. The defendant’s truck then flipped over and came to a rest. The Sonata spun and came to a final rest facing north, while in the southbound lane. A 20-year-old woman, not involved in the collisions, stopped to help, and got out of her vehicle.

Another driver, in a 2011 Ford F-150 truck, swerved to avoid the Sonata but hit the Sonata and the citizen who had stopped. The Sonata spun around to face southbound, striking a guardrail in the process. 

The two men in the Sonata, a 55-year-old and 71-year-old, both from Lehigh Acres, died from the crash. The citizen assisting was critically injured after being hit by the car.

Desjardine’s blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit. The Florida Highway Patrol was the investigating agency. Sentencing is scheduled for December 16th.

Assistant State Attorney Mara Marzano and Assistant State Attorney William Dorman III prosecuted the case.


Samantha Syoen – Communications Director, State Attorney’s Office