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Driver gets six years for killing two New Port Richey women

NEW PORT RICHEY — Robert Kampfert has fond memories of the 63 years he shared with wife, Phyllis.

But there is one memory of shattered glass and twisted steel that he is not fond of at all.

That was the day a reckless driver took the lives of Phyllis Kampfert and Audree Misavice in June 2005.

"It's terrible, it's everyday, it just doesn't go away," he said Wednesday. "Every time you see a wreck or a car speeding, you think of that. You can't help it."

Now the widower has something else to think about: the driver who killed the two women is going to prison.

Gregory A. Pilgrim, now 23, agreed Tuesday to spend six years in prison.

Circuit Judge Thane Covert adjudicated Pilgrim guilty of two counts of vehicular homicide and one count of driving with a suspended license from that 2005 crash.

He was also sentenced for one felony count of sale of marijuana and a misdemeanor possession of marijuana charge he picked up in 2006.

Pilgrim, who was 21 at the time of the crash, could have gotten up to 15 years for vehicular homicide. He will get credit for more than 800 days spent in jail awaiting trial.

The Florida Highway Patrol said Pilgrim's Hyundai Tiburon slammed into the side of Misavice's Ford Focus. Witnesses told the St. Petersburg Times that Pilgrim was "flying" and "came out of nowhere."

Pilgrim was speeding south on Little Road. The Ford Focus was turning left onto Grove Drive.

Witnesses said the collision sent the Focus airborne. It hit a curb and flipped over.

The passenger, Kampfert, 86, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver, Misavice, 76, was later pronounced dead at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point.

Both occupants of the Hyundai were also injured. Pilgrim was in serious condition and flown to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg. Passenger Gary L. Garrabrant was taken to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point.

When the Highway Patrol arrested Pilgrim in December 2005, it said he was driving recklessly and doing at least 67 mph in a 45 mph zone just before the crash.

The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office said it worked with an attorney representing the victims' families in reaching the plea bargain.

But when both families were contacted Wednesday by the Times, they said no one told them about the deal.

"I guess no amount of years served is going to take the place of anyone's mother," said daughter Dawn Misavice, 59. "They were both very, very good people."

She remembered why her mother and Kampfert were on the road that day: to help out another Port Richey neighbor.

"They were both very active, they both died doing a good deed," she said. "They were on their way to pick up a platter for someone who had passed away."

Audree Misavice was a retired receptionist who left behind a son, a daughter and a husband of 58 years, Walter, who is now 82 and living with family in Illinois. Phyllis Kampfert was a homemaker who left behind her husband, a son and three daughters.

"She was such a wonderful woman as a wife and a mother," said her husband, now 88. As for the driver who took her life, Robert Kampfert has but one wish:

"I hope he suffers."

Jamal Thalji can be reached at thalji@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6236.

Driver gets six years for killing two New Port Richey women 04/09/08 [Last modified: Friday, April 11, 2008 4:07pm]
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