Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pleas for leniency get Brandon man probation in vehicular manslaughter case

TAMPA — A 20-year-old man was sentenced to six years of probation Thursday after he pleaded no contest to a vehicular manslaughter charge.

Addison Strzalka of Brandon was driving at least 83 mph on Nov. 10 when he lost control of his truck on Nature's Way Boulevard in Valrico and hit a tree, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

His passenger, Nicole Petracci, 19, of Valrico, was ejected and died at the scene.

She was a Bloomingdale High graduate who attended Hillsborough Community College.

Petracci's family wrote a letter urging Judge Ashley Moody to not make Strzalka a felon or send him to jail, said Eddie Suarez, Strzalka's attorney.

"I think that had a great impact on the judge's decision," Suarez said.

Moody withheld adjudication and imposed youthful offender probation instead. Strzalka must complete drug and alcohol evaluation, perform 250 hours of community service and speak four times a year to young people on the dangers of reckless driving, Suarez said.

His license was suspended for two years.

The sentence means he can finish his associate's degree at Hillsborough Community College and possibly transfer to the University of South Florida.

The afternoon of sentencing testimony was emotional, including pleas for leniency from Strzalka's parents, grandfather, youth pastor, psychologist and a neighbor who is a retired deputy.

Glenn Strzalka, the defendant's father, is a wounded Vietnam veteran who told the court about the kind of man his son has become and the remorse he feels for the crash, Suarez said.

Others testified that Strzal­ka volunteered to feed the homeless and was involved in his church. Glowing testimonies about his character before the crash added to the somberness.

"It was tragic. You typically have a bad guy and a victim." Suarez explained. "To have both families make a joint recommendation to the court was very unusual."

Pleas for leniency get Brandon man probation in vehicular manslaughter case 09/01/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 2, 2011 7:24am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Mexicans dig through collapsed buildings as quake kills at least 217 (w/video)

    World

    MEXICO CITY — Police, firefighters and ordinary Mexicans dug frantically through the rubble of collapsed schools, homes and apartment buildings early Wednesday, looking for survivors of Mexico's deadliest earthquake in decades as the number of confirmed fatalities stood at 217.

    A man is rescued from a collapsed building in the Condesa neighborhood after an earthquake struck Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. The 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico, killing more than 100 people. [Associated Press]
  2. Lacking support, lobbying ordinance gets no hearing in Hernando

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE — A push to publicly identify people who lobby top county officials was rejected by a majority of the Hernando County Commission this week when commissioners decided to pull a proposed lobbying ordinance from the agenda.

    Commissioner Steve Champion said there was not a consensus to bring a lobbying ordinance forward so the item should not have been placed on the agenda.
  3. 80 books disappear from classroom that sheltered Irma evacuees

    K12

    DUNEDIN — When Martha Hereford-Cothron returned to her classroom at Dunedin Highland Middle School on Monday morning, her heart sank as her eyes scanned the room and landed on a white bookshelf, empty except for a broken DVD player and a thermal blanket.

    Gone from this shelf at Dunedin Highland Middle School were some 80 books and several board games in the classroom of teacher Martha Hereford-Cothron. The items disappeared after the classroom was used to shelter evacuees from Hurricane Irma. [Photo courtesy of Martha Hereford-Cothron]
  4. Lanes reopen on SB U.S. 19 after pedestrian fatally struck by semi-tractor in Clearwater

    Accidents

    CLEARWATER — Southbound lanes on U.S. 19 reopened early Wednesday morning after a pedestrian was fatally struck by a semi-trailer.

  5. [National Hurricane Center]