Circuit Judge Wayne Wooten recently announced a sentence in a case involving a DUI accident that claimed the life of a two-year-old girl on Aug. 5, 2009. The 39-year-old driver convicted in the case received a 16-year sentence after pleading guilty last June to DUI manslaughter, possession of a controlled substance and other charges. The driver crashed his vehicle into a PT Cruiser carrying the victim and her family outside the Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa on the day of the accident. Accident investigators found that the man was legally drunk and had been driving nearly twice the posted speed limit when the accident occurred.
“No sentence can truly repair the harm in this case,” said Judge Wooten as he handed down the sentence.
The defendant broke down in tears as the verdict was read, and was allowed to read a statement to the victim’s family before he was taken away in handcuffs.
“I understand the feelings you must have toward me, and I know saying, ‘I’m sorry’ is not going to change the consequences of that evening,” he said, adding that “if I could turn back the hands of time and trade places with (the victim), I would do so in an instant.”
The prosecutor in the case, Robin Wilkinson, responded by saying that the State of Florida was not asking the defendant to give up his life. “We’re asking him to give up a term of years.”
“Clearly the facts of the case are horrific. Clearly if the defendant had gone to trial, he would have been convicted,” she continued. The victim’s life, Wilkinson said, “barely got started before it was ended.”
Every driver knows that drinking and driving is reckless, dangerous and negligent and greatly increases the likelihood of causing an accident. Yet, as this and other tragic cases indicate, Florida drivers continue to drive while impaired and put everyone else on the road at significant risk for serious injury and death. If you or a member of your family has been injured by a drunk driver and you want to speak with an Orlando DUI accident attorney to learn more about your legal options, call 800-425-2004 today. James O. Cunningham has helped DUI accident victims receive the fair and just compensation they deserve since 1977 and handles each aspect of his clients’ cases personally. Call today to schedule your free consultation with one of the most experienced Orlando personal injury lawyers in the area.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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