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Plea deal effort fails in vehicular homicide case

DADE CITY — Efforts to reach a plea agreement in the case against Adam Sanford, the teen behind the wheel in an August 2007 crash that claimed the life of his 17-year-old classmate, unraveled in court Thursday.

Sanford wants probation. The family of the boy who died in the crash wants Sanford to spend "several years" in prison, said assistant state attorney Mike Mervine, the prosecutor in the case.

Sanford's request for probation could not be granted, as sentencing guidelines call for at least 12 years in prison, Mervine said.

Sanford, now 19, faces charges of vehicular homicide, manslaughter and reckless driving. The Florida Highway Patrol said Sanford was speeding when he used a turn lane and then the shoulder to pass other cars on Curley Road near Pine Top Way in Wesley Chapel.

When he attempted to get back on the pavement, Sanford lost control, and his Isuzu Trooper rolled over, possibly numerous times, according to the agency. Passenger Matthew Laidley died several hours after the accident at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa.

Sanford and Laidley were seniors at Wesley Chapel High. Also in the car was senior Katelin Kaiser, then 17. She and Sanford were also treated at St. Joseph's. All three were wearing seat belts.

The accident occurred a little after 2 p.m. Aug. 29, 2007. School had just gotten out, and some Wesley Chapel High students witnessed the wreck.

A warrant was issued in April 2008 for Sanford's arrest. He spent five hours at the Land O'Lakes jail before being released in lieu of $20,000 bail.

Attempts to reach Sanford and Laidley's family Thursday were unsuccessful.

The next hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 13.

Helen Anne Travis can be reached at or (813) 435-7312.

Plea deal effort fails in vehicular homicide case 07/09/09 [Last modified: Thursday, July 9, 2009 10:47pm]
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