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Driver is guilty in child's death

TAMPA — A Riverview man who was driving less than 5 mph when he ran over and killed his 3-year-old neighbor was found guilty Friday of DUI-manslaughter and other felony charges.

Pete Dreydoppel, 54, faces as many as 20 years in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 27. Prosecutors said Dreydoppel had significant amounts of Xanax and marijuana in his system when he hit Edward Francis Gould III on Feb. 7, 2007. The little boy had been playing with a toy truck just outside his family's home in the Alafia Riverwoods Mobile Home Park.

Dreydoppel's attorneys said he was not impaired. They argued that the child darted in front of Dreydoppel's truck, leaving him no time to react. Dreydoppel did not have a valid driver's license.

He sat in a wheelchair throughout the trial. He has kidney failure and is receiving dialysis treatments at the jail.

Jurors deliberated three hours Thursday night before being sent home. They reached a verdict after an hour of deliberation Friday morning, said Assistant State Attorney Felix Vega.

Gould's parents, who were being evicted the same day their son died, have sued the mobile home park for negligence and wrongful death. They argue that the park lacked proper "children playing'' signs and posted speed limits, court records show.

Hillsborough driver found guilty in child's death

Driver is guilty in child's death 01/23/09 [Last modified: Saturday, January 24, 2009 12:14am]
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