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Man sentenced to 20 years in prison for DUI manslaughter

On behalf of Terence Gross of Gross & Schuster, P.A. posted in Wrongful Death on Monday, June 20, 2011.

Driving drunk has high risks. And now, as a Florida man is learning, it comes with a high price if you get into an accident and leave the scene.

A man charged with DUI manslaughter in the wrongful death of a motorcyclist has been sentenced to a serve 20 years in a Florida state prison.

The accident occurred in April when the motorcycle driven by the now-deceased man was struck by the defendant’s car. At the time, the driver’s blood alcohol level was three times the limit allowed under Florida law. He apparently thought he hit a little bump, but kept on going anyway. He told officers he knew he should have stopped, according to an article in the Pensacola News Journal.

The driver was also charged with leaving an accident scene and with marijuana possession. He could have faced up 46-years in prison for fatally striking the 29-year-old motorcyclist.

At his sentencing, the man, through his attorney, apologized for the motorcyclist’s death. The family also made remarks at the hearing, saying that the drunk driver took away their son, grandson and father of his 1-year-old child. The man’s mother will now raise the child. She said she was disappointed the driver’s sentence was not tougher, but she was still pleased.

Members belonging to ABATE of Florida, a group of motorcyclists who lobby for stricter laws to protect bikers, were also at the hearing. A spokesperson for the group said their goal was to keep people like the defendant off Florida roads.

Source: Pensacola New Journal, “Ronnie L. Henley of Pace gets 20 years for DUI manslaughter,” Kris Wernowsky, 14 June 2011

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