Tuesday, January 16, 2018
News Roundup

Dentist gets 12 years for DUI deaths on Harbour Island

TAMPA — For the first time since he slammed into their children with his car three years ago, instantly killing them on the Harbour Island Bridge, the parents of Douglas Kozar, 23, and Kate Kohlier, 24, got to see the Riverview dentist who did it.

In court Thursday, 37-year-old Matthew Moye wore a black suit and blue tie, a stark contrast from the ghoulish crime scene photos from Oct. 30, 2010, that show him with white Halloween makeup still on his face.

Investigators say he had a 0.13 blood alcohol level, far exceeding the 0.08 threshold at which the state presumes impairment. They say he was going 89 mph when his tire hit the median, sending him careening toward the right, then left — straight into the pair walking to their cars after work at the Marriott Waterside Hotel.

He had come to court on Thursday for a plea agreement: 12 years in prison, followed by 10 years' probation for two counts of DUI manslaughter. With good behavior, he could be out in about 10.5 years.

"Of course we're disappointed," Douglas Kozar's mother, Kathy Kozar, told reporters later.

The sentence was too short, her family said. Hillsborough has seen many others sentenced to more — sometimes 20 to 30 years — for the same charges.

"But in the end, it was all out of our control," she said. "So we had to accept it."

Douglas' brother, Matt Kozar, called it "some sort of justice."

Though the sentence was set, the victims' families still had the chance to share memories and tales of loss in court. And they did, bringing framed family photos to the lectern.

Douglas Kozar was a mechanically minded young man who loved fishing and wanted to get into law enforcement. He was quiet, introspective and artistic.

Kate Kohlier was a people person majoring in psychology. More than 300 came to her memorial. One said he was only there because of Kate — because she had talked him out of suicide.

Douglas' father, Russ Kozar, sounded shaky as he read a letter addressed to his son the day before his funeral, signed "I'll never stop loving you, Dad."

His voice hardened when he turned to Moye.

"I have no forgiveness for you, and I have no sympathy," he said.

Kate Kohlier's mother, Cindy Collins, spoke softly about her only daughter. When Kate was young, Collins would sing You Are My Sunshine to her each day. Even in her 20s, Kate would text her mom each morning: "Morning, mama."

It was her way of letting her mother know everything was okay.

Halloween and Christmas were Kate's favorites. Each year, when Collins sees the decorations in the store for the first time, she cries.

"Knowing it's another year of loss," she said.

The Kozar family criticized Moye for not showing up in court before now. They had traveled from New York about 15 times for various proceedings. He needed to "man up," Kathy Kozar said.

Moye's attorney, Steve Romine, later told the Tampa Bay Times that he had advised his client, who was out on $119,000 bail, not to attend because Moye had received some "disturbing threats" after the highly publicized crash.

He continued to run his business, Big Bend Dental, after he bailed out of jail. On Thursday, he looked directly at each family member who spoke, his expression never changing.

Russ Kozar said he doubts Moye has remorse. And though Douglas will never come back, the father got an ounce of satisfaction from one thing:

Hearing the click of the handcuffs as a bailiff slipped them around the dentist's wrists.

Times staff writer Dan Sullivan contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3433.

     
 
Comments

School board member is ‘dumbfounded’ by Times report on Hillsborough substitute teachers

By Marlene SokolTimes Staff WriterTAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District should reconsider how it hires substitute teachers, and that conversation should happen publicly, School Board member Lynn Gray said Tuesday.Responding to a a Tampa Bay...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Fake Twitter account claims Florida lottery winner will pay for retweets

Fake Twitter account claims Florida lottery winner will pay for retweets

Plenty of us daydreamed about what they would do if they scored a $451 million Mega Millions jackpot, as 20-year-old Shane Missler did last week.That curiosity was heightened after a Twitter account, purportedly belonging to Missler, touted that he w...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Dow bursts through 26,000 in record seven trading days

Dow bursts through 26,000 in record seven trading days

The Dow Jones industrial average blew past 26,000 Tuesday for the first time ever, coming only a week after hitting 25,000 and showing further evidence that the long-running bull market is alive and well."There are several reasons for markets to melt...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Captain credited with smart, fast decisions in Port Richey casino boat fire

Captain credited with smart, fast decisions in Port Richey casino boat fire

By HOWARD ALTMAN Times Staff Writer PORT RICHEY — Michael Batten, the captain of the casino shuttle boat that caught fire Sunday afternoon, made smart, fast decisions that saved lives, according to a spokeswoman for the boat’s owner.Batten, captain o...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Why ‘Phantom Thread’ is a bad fit as Daniel Day-Lewis’ final movie

Why ‘Phantom Thread’ is a bad fit as Daniel Day-Lewis’ final movie

BY STEVE PERSALLTimes Movie CriticPaul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread is passionless window-shop cinema, each static tableau lovingly arranged for display and easy dusting. Its centerpiece is a mannequin, albeit played by Daniel Day-Lewis, whose gi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Gator and python battle it out on Florida golf course

Gator and python battle it out on Florida golf course

It was gator vs. python on a Florida golf course recently.The gator was victorious, though the creature sat still for hours — with the python’s head in its jaws — as golfers took photos of the encounter. Photos of the bout have gone viral on social m...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Italian Butterfingers? Nestle selling candy business for $2.9B

Italian Butterfingers? Nestle selling candy business for $2.9B

Associated PressNEW YORK — Swiss food and drink giant Nestle is selling its U.S. candy business to Italy’s Ferrero for about $2.9 billion in cash. Ferrero will take over iconic chocolate brands Butterfinger and Crunch bars, as well as the sugary Ner...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Raymond James advice for small to mid-sized companies about activist shareholders? Prepare and listen

Raymond James advice for small to mid-sized companies about activist shareholders? Prepare and listen

Shareholder fights between activist investors and publicly traded companies are getting nastier, especially in some industries, and a lot of them don’t involve corporate giants like General Motors and Procter & Gamble.In 2015, according to Raymond Ja...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Here’s the backstory of the Pasco casino boat operator whose ship caught on fire

By Zachary T. SampsonTimes Staff WriterLong before a shuttle ship from Tropical Breeze Casino caught fire Sunday off the coast of Port Richey, leaving one passenger dead, the company behind the operation was a source of controversy.The casino operato...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tampa judge denies ‘stand your ground’ claim in Lyfe Coleman murder case

Tampa judge denies ‘stand your ground’ claim in Lyfe Coleman murder case

BY DAN SULLIVANTimes Staff WriterTAMPA — A judge has declined to grant immunity to Reginald Bowman, the man who admitted last month that he fatally shot 18-year-old Lyfe Coleman and invoked the state’s "stand your ground" law to argue it was self-def...
Updated: 2 hours ago