Man wanted in 2017 DUI manslaughter crash extradited from Ireland to Highlands County

A man wanted for DUI manslaughter in connection to a 2017 crash is back in Florida, booked into the Highlands County Jail.

Deputies say Samuel Joseph Tucker had taken off to Ireland following the deadly crash. But authorities tracked him down and had him extradited to face the charges.

22-year-old Alyssa Vice was Tucker's passenger who was killed on the morning of June 24, 2017. For 20 long months, her family has hurt, waited and wondered.

"But, I just feel like it's time," said Linda McCartney, Alyssa's mother. "It's time that we do put a face to her name."

Now, they want the world to know the 22-year-old who brightened theirs.

"She was my sunshine from the day she was born," Linda McCartney said.

Alyssa was a young woman who loved sunflowers, loved to travel, dance, laugh and live life to the fullest.

"Just smart and kind-hearted," Linda McCartney said. "We just loved her. And, we miss her."

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Around 3:30 a.m. on June 24, 2017, deputies say Samuel Tucker was driving a Maserati Ghibli with Vice in the passenger's seat. Investigators say his blood alcohol level at the time was twice the legal limit.

They say he was going fast, reaching speeds upwards of 140 miles per hour before he hit a curve on State Road 17 near San Juan Avenue in Avon Park, crashing into a power pole.

"You get a knock on the door at eight in the morning and there is a state trooper standing there with an ID of your daughter," recalled Alyssa's father, Roger McCartney.

Tucker was seriously injured in the crash. Vice was killed.

"I walk around every day with something missing," Linda McCartney said. "Just like if I had lost my hand, I am missing part of me. And, I'm missing all the futures I held onto, things for her wedding day I won't get to do."

Her family's healing was put on hold for 20 months. Tucker disappeared to Ireland until last August when he was arrested. Friday night, he was booked into the Highlands County Jail on DUI manslaughter and property damage charges.

"It was a comfort but it wasn't that huge happiness I thought I would feel, I guess, because I know it's not over. It's just starting," Linda McCartney said.

With a long road still ahead, Alyssa's family hopes her life and her story reminds all drivers to consider what, or who could be at stake.

"These are very dangerous machines and distracted, whether you're drinking and driving, or texting, you're not invincible. Bad things can happen," Linda McCartney said.

"Tomorrow's not promised. We found out the hard way," Roger McCartney said.