JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - A news story on jacksonville.com reports that a Jacksonville man received a 60-year prison sentence for committed DUI manslaughter back in 2018. The 48-year-old Jacksonville man caused a fatal accident that killed a Nassau couple and their unborn son. The perpetrator will be in a Florida State prison for the rest of his life. The fatal accident occurred on US 301 in Bryceville, Florida.
The presiding Circuit Court Judge handed down a 60-year prison sentence in the triple DUI manslaughter case against the defendant. Ultimately, the prison sentence will be a death sentence for the defendant because he will not be eligible for parole for 50 years.
Before the Circuit Court Judge handed down the sentence to the defendant, the families and friends of the victims had their say by addressing the court and the defendant. The father of the male victim was nearly unable to speak before the Nassau County courtroom due to his emotions. However, he provided a written statement that was read before the courtroom. The letter stated that the accident occurred on his son's birthday. He stated that he remembered having to drive to the accident scene with his wife and help the Florida Highway Patrol identify his remains. His letter stated that living life was painful, and it was hard to watch his son's friends get married and raise their kids. The letter stated the father was painfully reminded of the future his family lost.
The male victim's mother stated that the night her son and his future bride passed away was the worst day of her life because her son was killed along with the woman he loved because of a "selfish, stupid, careless and preventable act of drinking and driving."
According to the male victim's mother, their son's girlfriend was eight months pregnant. The family had chosen a name and were excited to meet him in a few weeks.
The Florida Highway Patrol stated that the defendant was driving his Ford F-250 pickup truck with no headlights turn on and in the wrong direction at around 11 p.m. The defendant hit the couple's vehicle head-on. According to the Nassau County Sheriff's Office, the suspect then fled the accident scene before police officers arrived. A witness attempted to stop the pickup driver from leaving the fatal accident scene.
Nassau County Sheriff's Deputies found the defendant close to the accident site, and they arrested the defendant and handed the driver over to the Florida Highway Patrol.
According to the Highway Patrol, the couple was wearing seat belts, while the defendant did not. The drunk driver was hospitalized with a collapsed lung after the accident.
The driver was found guilty of three DUI manslaughter charges, leaving the scene of an accident involving death and driving on a permanently revoked driver's license. His older brother spoke before his sentencing in the crowded courtroom, as did a friend, the State Attorney's Office said.
Nassau County court documents show that the defendant was found guilty on numerous charges in the past, including driving with a suspended license, driving under the influence, and driving under the influence again in 2011, violation of probation, and refusing to submit to a DUI test.
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