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St. Pete woman gets five years' prison, probation in DUI-manslaughter

LARGO — Just before getting sent to prison, Ann Marie Nunn stood in court and apologized to family members of the man she killed in a drunken driving accident.

Nunn offered "heartfelt condolences" and said her "greatest wish" is that the family of victim David Happeney, and her own family, can both start to heal now.

"I have and will continue to pray for the Happeney family," she said.

That didn't stop the flow of tears from both families.

Nunn, 40, of St. Petersburg pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter on Tuesday.

Her blood alcohol level was 0.263 — more than three times the level at which a driver is presumed impaired — when she struck and killed Happeney on Gulf Boulevard in Treasure Island as he crossed the street with his fiancee one night in September 2010.

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Nancy Moate Ley sentenced Nunn to five years in prison, followed by 10 years of probation. Her driver's license was suspended permanently.

The sentence was the result of a plea arrangement worked out with the attorneys, along with Nunn and Happeney's family. Ley said she admired the Happeney family for working to determine an acceptable sentence.

Nunn is a mother of three. Happeney, 49, of Pinellas Park was a father of three.

In a poignant moment outside the courtroom, Happeney's mother hugged Nunn's mother in a hallway.

"We've both suffered from this," said Happeney's mother, Marjorie. "The only thing is, you're going to get your daughter back."

A few minutes earlier, Marjorie Happeney spoke in court about her devastating loss. After her son's death, she said her blood pressure shot up and she suffered from other health problems.

She described her son as a fun-loving, hard-working man who had been president of his senior class and loved Ohio State football and NASCAR. It pains her that "David will never be able to hug his girls," she said, or walk them down the aisle.

Happeney grew up in Ohio but lived in Florida and "he loved it here," his sister Kathy Cox recalled. "He called it paradise."

After apologizing to Happeney's family in court, Nunn also apologized to her own and thanked them for their unconditional love and prayers.

Nunn had a clean criminal record before the crash and was released on bond after the crash. But in January, she was ticketed for driving on a suspended license, which led authorities to put her in the Pinellas County Jail on March 28. She will soon be transferred to prison.

St. Pete woman gets five years' prison, probation in DUI-manslaughter 04/03/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 12:23am]
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