Escambia Man Gets Prison Time For Hitting Eight Navy Personnel While Driving Drunk

April 30, 2019

An Escambia County that was driving under the influence when he struck eight Navy personnel from NAS Pensacola on Perdido Key has been sentenced to prison.

Escambia County Circuit Judge Stephen Pitre sentenced Eric Watt to five years in state prison, followed by two years community control, followed by five years of probation for two counts of driving while under the influence causing serious bodily injury and two counts of driving while under the influence.

On April 29th, 2017, eight flight students with the United States Navy were walking home along Perdido Key Drive when they were hit from behind by a car driven by Watt. The crash caused serious bodily injury to six of the eight victims, and they were transported to several area hospitals.
An investigation determined that Watt was under the influence of alcohol and marijuana at the time of the crash. Watt pled to the charges in February.


10 Responses to “Escambia Man Gets Prison Time For Hitting Eight Navy Personnel While Driving Drunk”

  1. HF on May 3rd, 2019 12:02 am

    @Justice … Well said…

  2. Zach on May 2nd, 2019 5:47 pm

    This guy basically got rewarded for the fact he didn’t kill anyone due to his criminal actions.
    What a joke.

  3. Calvinqualls on May 1st, 2019 1:23 pm

    Ok do anyone on this website see anything wrong with this sentence in my opinion its not long enough

  4. Justice on May 1st, 2019 8:42 am

    Anyone else wonder why it took over 2 years for this case to be resolved?? Well I did a little research and there were extenuating circumstances. This was a horrible accident that would have been drawn out even longer had it gone to trial. I commend Mr Watt for taking blame for his misstep. If this was as cut and dry as they make it seem it wouldn’t have taken two years to reach this point. Some major facts were not reported on anywhere I could find. The marijuana change was something that was thrown on top that never stuck, but was reported on as fact. Anyone familiar with case law on marijuana knows how long it stays present in your system (30-60 days) I feel it’s also fair to take into consideration that the legal limit for alcohol is .08 he blew a .088so we’re not talking about someone who was “wasted”. We are talking about an amount that until 2002 would have been well under the legal BAC limit. Another thing that’s not mentioned is the crime scene investigation proved not once but actually re-visited and for a second time and showed the gentlemen hit were actually in the road way (not ran down off of the road) at night, in an area with very little light, after a VERY long day of drinking for the sailors. Also important was the fact that he was traveling 10mph under the posted speed limit. I am in no way justifying Mr Watts decision to drive that night but if all the information was available in this article i feel as if people might have a little different view on the topic. He also continued to genuinely reach out to find updates on the men’s conditions throughout the whole process and is now serving his time. I truly hope those young men make a full recovery. Such a horrible situation for everyone involved.

  5. Shocking on April 30th, 2019 10:28 pm

    The footage from court showed one of the victims, scar clearly visible on his head, with a pronounced limp. His life is completely altered, and career probably ended. And, that was just one. Was this the maximum sentence? Was the judge influenced by the cleanup job done on the defendant? The magnitude of the crime is far greater than the sentence imposed.

  6. mq on April 30th, 2019 9:05 pm

    Can’t believe he only got 5 years.
    Sad and CRAZY.

  7. Bob on April 30th, 2019 6:34 pm

    The legal system has failed these fine Patriots and justice was NOT served!!!

  8. Ifonly... on April 30th, 2019 5:23 pm

    If only is victims were able to fully recover in 5 years…this is going to take a lifetime. Below is a link to a video of one of the victims.

  9. anne 1of2 on April 30th, 2019 4:31 pm

    Doesn’t this make one sick with anger.?

  10. Good grief! on April 30th, 2019 2:48 pm

    5 yrs???? What a joke our system is. Thank you for your service to the flight students.