'Driving Drunk Woo': Shocking Text Messages Added As Evidence In Fatal DUI Case

By McCarton Ackerman 05/05/15

Mila Dago has pleaded not guilty to DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide.

Mila Dago
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A tragic case involving a fatal DUI car crash has taken a dramatic twist as text messages sent by the driver admitting that she was drunk just before the crash have been released.

Mila Dago, 24, was the driver in the August 2013 crash that took place in downtown Miami. She ran a red light and plowed her rented Smart car into a moving truck. Although the driver of the truck, 51-year-old Benjamin Byrum, was knocked unconscious, he suffered only minor injuries. But Dago’s passenger, 22-year-old Irina Reinoso, was killed instantly.

Blood alcohol tests conducted nearly two hours after the crash showed that Dago had a blood alcohol level of .178, more than double the legal limit. She was officially arrested by police in January, but immediately posted bail and has been awaiting trial ever since. She has pleaded not guilty to charges including DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and two counts of DUI with damage to a person.

But new evidence from prosecutors showed that in the hours leading up to the crash, she sent 60 text messages to her boyfriend after they had gotten into an argument. The text messages became increasingly angry and included one which read, “I’m done you ruined me ... you’ll be the death of me.” Three minutes before the crash, Dago wrote “driving drunk woo ... I’ll be dead thanks to you ... lata.”

Reinoso’s parents have since filed a separate civil lawsuit against both Dago and Car2Go, who she rented the vehicle from. They are arguing that the company is partially responsible because they didn’t have preventative measures in place to keep drunk drivers from renting unattended cars on the streets.

Car2Go has responded by claiming that federal law lets them operate with the same limited liability as rental car companies. They also noted that Reinoso wasn’t wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.