Thursday, May 7, 2009

Prison Time For Spring Hill Driver Who Killed Bicyclist

This just in from the St. Pete Times:

Spring Hill man sentenced over fatal accident that killed student

BROOKSVILLE — A Spring Hill man received nearly 12 years in prison Thursday for a May 2008 accident that killed a 17-year-old riding a bicycle.

Leo Salvato, 37, pleaded guilty to second-degree DUI manslaughter as relatives of Scott Avery, a student and football player at Nature Coast Technical High School, watched silently in the courtroom.

Salvato hit Avery from behind the night of May 31 as he drove east on Powell Road, near Gloucester Road, just south of Brooksville. Avery died at the scene of the crash and Salvato fled. He was arrested 2 miles away.

Toxicology results later showed Salvato had been driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.158 percent, nearly twice the limit where the law presumes impairment.

Salvato, a habitual traffic offender with a lengthy arrest record, initially faced a maximum 35 years in prison for a first-degree DUI manslaughter charge and a second count for driving without a valid license.

But the prosecutor struck a plea deal after Salvato’s defense attorney challenged aspects of the charges.

John Frank, Times staff writer

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