Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hudson man gets decade in prison after plea in Hernando DUI manslaughter case

BROOKSVILLE — Denise Crawford came to court Wednesday expecting to see the man who crashed into her sister last year sent to prison. But Crawford wanted something else, too.

"You took a life from us," Crawford said, fixing her gaze on Matthew T. Horne, who stood at another lectern a few feet away. "All we want is an apology. And I hope you never, ever have to lose a child or a sister or a brother or your mom like that."

Moments before Hernando Circuit Judge Anthony Tatti sentenced Horne to 10-plus years in state prison, Horne offered that apology.

"I'm sorry for the grief I've caused your family," the 34-year-old father of two young boys said. "I made a horrible decision, and it seems like everybody else is paying for it."

Horne of Hudson was driving north on U.S. 19 in his GMC pickup about 5 a.m. on July 1, 2012, when he slammed into the back of Barbara Ward's Ford Escort in Spring Hill. The force of the impact pushed the Escort through the intersection of Spring Hill Drive, over a concrete curb and into a ditch.

Ward of Spring Hill died a week later at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point. She was 65.

Samples taken after the crash put Horne's blood-alcohol level at 0.106, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report. Florida law presumes impairment at a level of 0.08.

In addition to DUI manslaughter, Horne was charged with two counts of DUI with property damage. He faced a maximum of 17 years in prison if convicted at trial.

Horne pleaded no contest Wednesday as part of a deal with prosecutors. He has one prior misdemeanor conviction, and the 125-month sentence he received was at the bottom of sentencing guidelines.

A native of New York, Ward moved to Florida about three years ago to be closer to her family, her son, Ken Lugrezia of Spring Hill, told the Tampa Bay Times earlier this year. Her husband, Gary, remained in New York to work at his auto repair job awhile longer before retiring and joining her.

Ward was a die-hard New York Yankees fan who loved to play bingo, cook pasta dishes and take her granddaughters, Sasha and Ashley, shopping.

Horne has been out on bail since his arrest.

Lugrezia and Crawford watched from the gallery as the judge levied the sentence. As a bailiff clicked cuffs around Horne's wrist, Lugrezia grabbed his aunt's hand and squeezed.

A few minutes later, Lugrezia stood in the courthouse lobby, his eyes red and rimmed with tears.

"No amount of time is going to be enough when you lose someone like that," he said.

Tony Marrero can be reached at tmarrero (352) 848-1431. Follow @tmarrerotimes on Twitter.

Hudson man gets decade in prison after plea in Hernando DUI manslaughter case 10/30/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 9:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs' Doug Martin relying on strength from drug rehab to power his return


    TAMPA — He would not talk about the drug he abused. He would not identify the rehab facility he entered in January or how long he was there.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin participates in an "open OTA practice" at One Buc Place, the team's training facility, in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
  2. NCAA: Former USF basketball assistant gave improper benefits


    TAMPA — Former USF men's basketball assistant coach Oliver Antigua provided impermissible benefits, including lodging at his home, for two prospective student-athletes while they received on-campus tutoring, according to findings reported to the school by the NCAA.

  3. Assault charge may not sway voters in Montana election (w/video)


    BOZEMAN, Mont. — Republican multimillionaire Greg Gianforte won Montana's only U.S. House seat on Thursday despite being charged a day earlier with assault after witnesses said he grabbed a reporter by the neck and threw him to the ground.

    People fill out ballots for the special election to fill Montana's only U.S. House seat at the Montana Pavilion at MetraPark on Thursday in Billings, Mont. [Associated Press]
  4. Quiet college dropout turned bomber: Who was Salman Abedi?


    LONDON — He was quiet and withdrawn, a college dropout who liked soccer — and, some say, showed alarming signs of being radicalized years before he walked into a pop concert at Britain's Manchester Arena and detonated a powerful bomb, killing himself and 22 others.

    Salman Abedi was identified by British authorities as the man behind Monday’s attack.
  5. Soldiers launch attacks in besieged Philippine city


    MARAWI, Philippines — Backed by tanks and rocket-firing helicopters, Philippine troops launched "precision attacks" Thursday to clear extremists linked to the Islamic State group from a city that has been under siege since a raid that failed to capture one of Asia's most-wanted militants.

    Soldiers fire at enemy positions Thursday while trying to clear the city of Marawi, Philippines, of armed militants.