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Man gets five years in DUI crash that killed his friend

TAMPA — Eleven days before his wedding, Justin Jones took his groomsmen to a Buccaneers football game. The guys, whom he'd known since junior high school, packed into his Ford SUV afterward, excited.

It was Oct. 19, 2008. The Bucs had won. The Rays were beating the Boston Red Sox for their first American League pennant. The game blasted on the radio.

Jones ran a red light and slammed into a semitrailer truck, killing his 27-year-old college roommate Dustin Alderman and injuring others.

He would later swear to his attorney Paul Duval Johnson that he didn't know he was impaired. Amid the commotion of postgame traffic, he saw the car in front of him turn right and proceed into the intersection. He thought the light had turned green.

Jones, whose blood-alcohol level was 0.13, was charged with DUI manslaughter, three counts of DUI with serious bodily injury and two counts of DUI with property damage.

State motor vehicle records show he'd been cited five times for speeding — mostly rushing to and from class at the University of Central Florida, his attorney said.

Earlier this year, Jones pleaded guilty to the DUI charges. He would have faced up to life in prison had a jury convicted him.

On Thursday, he was sentenced according to a deal with the prosecution: five years in prison followed by 10 years' probation.

Family members on both sides watched the sentencing. Many cried. None spoke in open court.

Before he was handcuffed and taken away, Jones kissed his fiancee goodbye.

Man gets five years in DUI crash that killed his friend 05/06/10 [Last modified: Friday, May 7, 2010 1:08pm]
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