New details about the Dec. 15 crash near the highway’s 50th Street interchange emerged in a motion filed in an attempt to prevent Jorge Britton, 34, from being released on bail as he awaits trial on charges of DUI manslaughter, DUI serious injury and vehicular homicide.
Britton was being held without bail Thursday at the Hillsborough County Jail.
In their motion to hold him, prosecutors call Britton a threat to the community. One reason: He is involved with drug trafficking in Tampa Bay, where he “launders millions of dollars” of illegal drug proceeds by investing in real estate, restaurants and bars in the area, the motion said.
The State Attorney’s Office would not elaborate on the money-laundering allegation because the investigation remains active, spokesperson Grayson Kamm said Wednesday.
Britton was speeding east at 1:42 a.m. Dec. 15 when he tried to change lanes and collided with a Toyota Camry, according to the motion. Britton was traveling so fast that the collision caused the Camry to fly through the air and catch fire before he it came to rest nearly 1,000 feet away, the motion said.
The burned bodies of two St. Petersburg men, 39 and 47, were found inside. Their names were not released.
The prosecutors’ motion gives this account of what led up to the crash:
Britton attended a Tampa Bay Lightning game the night of Dec. 14 at Amalie Arena, where he drank at least one beer. Afterward, he and a woman drove west to the Penthouse Club adult lounge and restaurant, 1801 N Westshore Blvd.
Britton and the woman had more drinks and were joined by another woman who was associated with the club. They left at around 1:30 a.m., with Britton driving and the two woman sharing the single passenger seat. They headed east on Interstate 275 at a high rate of speed and exited onto Interstate 4, traveling three miles before crashing into the Toyota.
Britton was driving a 2020 convertible Audi R8 performance coupe. The 2022 model of the car sells for $150,000 and up. Britton and the two women received serious injuries and were taken to Tampa General Hospital. They were not wearing seatbelts.
Britton consented to have his blood drawn at the hospital and tests confirmed his blood-alcohol content was above the legal limit for drivers. Britton was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail on Monday, nearly three weeks later. He faces charges that carry a sentence of up to 30 years to life.
Britton also faces a charge of selling a vehicle with altered numbers. The Audi had an altered identification number and a counterfeit transporter license plate, the motion said. Legal use of these plates is limited to vehicles being moved in the course of a transporter’s official business.
Britton’s attorney, Roger D. Futerman, with offices in Tampa and Clearwater, did not respond Wednesday to a phone call and email seeking comment.
Britton’s occupation on jail records is described as “self-employed” and “developer.”
He is listed as a manager or representative of 17 companies on file with the Florida Secretary of State, dating to 2009. Eight of the filings remain active, according to state records. They include Brilliant Renovations, T & J Investments and Demolition, and T&J Sweetfish, all with offices listed in downtown Tampa’s Park Tower high-rise at 400 N. Ashley Dr.
The motion to hold Britton without bail lists four past driving-related convictions: unlawful racing in January 2016 at Hillsborough Avenue and 13th Street in Tampa; driving while license suspended in Hillsborough County in March 2010; unlawful speed in Osceola County in January 2013; and driving under the influence in Hillsborough County in January 2018.