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Florida man sentenced to life in prison for DUI manslaughter

A Pace, Florida, man was sentenced to life in prison recently after pleading no contest in the death of two sisters.

The man, 35, was charged with two counts of DUI manslaughter in the May 6 crash that killed two sisters, ages 17 and 7.

Witnesses testified at a hearing that the man had spent the day drinking, then went fishing. His wife located him and tried to take him home in her car, but he resisted. He hopped in his truck and drove off at a high rate of speed.

Authorities said he then rear-ended a car and kept going. When he was spotted by a Santa Rosa County deputy, he reportedly was driving 80 miles per hour in a 55-mph zone.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the man was traveling about 95 mph and slowed to 88 mph before he drove head-on into the car containing the victims. The sisters were killed, and their mother and another teenage girl were injured.

They were driving home from the beach.

By the time the man’s blood-alcohol level was measured about four hours after the incident, it was .130, or almost double the legal limit of .08 percent. The man also had marijuana in his system.

At the sentencing hearing, family members of the girls pleaded with the judge to impose the maximum sentence of life in prison.

The sentence was due, in part, to the defendant’s driving history. The prosecutor said the man had 10 prior convictions, including two for DUI.

Six weeks prior to this fatal crash, the man reportedly was driving drunk when he crashed into a telephone pole.

Drunk driving is a serious crime that can leave families devastated. It carries serious penalties for a conviction.

This man received a life term because of the death of two girls and his history of DUI arrests. If you are charged with drunk driving for the first time, consult with an attorney who perhaps can steer you toward a diversion program to get the help you might need to prevent a future DUI arrest.