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DUI manslaughter charge dropped in motorcycle crash case

TAMPA — Prosecutors dropped a DUI-manslaughter charge against a Deltona man on Tuesday, two weeks before he was headed to trial.

The Hillsborough State Attorney's Office didn't have enough evidence against Jeffrey D. Freson to proceed, Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi said.

"Ultimately, it was determined we could not prove the defendant was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, nor was there sufficient evidence to prove that he caused the accident," she said.

Freson, 43, cried when he learned he would no longer face up to 15 years in prison, said his attorney, Daniel Fernandez.

Joshua G. Motsinger, a 24-year-old from Gibsonton, was on his way home from a Narcotics Anonymous meeting on Nov. 27, 2007, when his motorcycle collided with Freson's truck at an intersection in Brandon.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers said Freson's eyes were glassy and he smelled of alcohol.

Jail records showed his blood alcohol content was 0.07 percent. Under state law, a driver is presumed impaired with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher, but drivers with lower levels may be charged if an officer observes indications of impaired driving.

Ahead of trial, Fernandez worked to show prosecutors why his client shouldn't be charged.

Fernandez said it took 21/2 hours for someone to draw Freson's blood, which then sat on a shelf for another two months before it was analyzed for alcohol content.

A defense expert said Freson's blood alcohol was 0.04, Fernandez said, more in line with Freson's receipt from his Chili's dinner that night, which showed he bought only one alcoholic drink.

Witnesses recalled that Motsinger was driving dangerously, speeding as he wove in and out of traffic, according to Fernandez.

The attorney said he and his client felt terrible about Motsinger's death but "bottom line, (Freson) really wasn't responsible for the accident, and he was not impaired."

Colleen Jenkins can be reached at cjenkins@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3337.

DUI manslaughter charge dropped in motorcycle crash case 03/17/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 11:50pm]
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