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Gulf Breeze woman in DUI manslaughter case sentenced to 30 years

On behalf of Terence Gross of Gross & Schuster, P.A. posted in Wrongful Death on Tuesday, August 2, 2011.

Sometimes, previous drunk driving convictions aren’t enough to scare people away from drinking and driving. In October of last year, for example, a 51-year-old woman struck and killed a male highway worker who was setting a reflective barrel out on U.S. 98 in Santa Rosa County. She was driving under the influence of alcohol and had two previous convictions. Now she faces a hefty sentence for the man’s wrongful death.

The woman apparently struck the worker and left the scene of the accident. It took authorities at least six hours after the accident to find her. When they did catch up with her, police reportedly performed an alcohol breath test. She first blew a .051, and then a .052 on the second test. This is just under the legal limit of .08 blood alcohol level in which an individual is still allowed to drive.

Upon her arrest, according to the Pensacola News Journal, police found that she was driving on a suspended license, and also violating a restricted driver’s license. Additionally, the woman was apparently violating a court order that required the use of an interlock device, which is required to start the engine of her vehicle.

The woman was reportedly convicted in 2006 of driving under the influence, and was also awaiting trial for a second DUI charge that occurred just months before the fatal accident in July 2010.

At the trial for the accident in October, the circuit judge handed the woman the maximum sentence possible for all charges. She was convicted on charges of driving on a suspended license, violating a restricted driver’s license, and charges of DUI manslaughter. She was sentenced to 30 years in a state prison.

Source: Pensacola News Journal, “Woman sentenced in DUI manslaughter,” Travis Griggs, 26 July 2011

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