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Driver gets 12 years for Pasco crash that killed road worker

DADE CITY — A 50-year-old man who killed a road maintenance worker while driving drunk was sentenced Thursday to 12 1/2 years in prison.

Elias Soto was convicted in December of DUI manslaughter and two counts of DUI property damage for the Oct. 19, 2006 crash. The collision injured Michael Gunter, an 18-year-old worker installing traffic signal sensors in Wesley Chapel. Gunter died from his injuries a few months later.

Witnesses said Soto smelled of alcohol, urinated on the road and failed his field sobriety tests, but his Breathalyzer tests showed a blood-alcohol content of 0.051 and 0.055, well below the 0.08 threshold that usually triggers a DUI charge. Still, jurors can convict someone on DUI charges if other evidence indicates the driver was impaired.

As he was being sentenced Thursday, Soto said he would trade places with the victim if he could.

Driver gets 12 years for Pasco crash that killed road worker 01/28/10 [Last modified: Thursday, January 28, 2010 9:33pm]
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