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Spring Hill woman charged with DUI manslaughter in crash

BROOKSVILLE — A Spring Hill woman was charged with DUI manslaughter Wednesday in a January crash that killed a 24-year-old woman.

Barbara Jean Diffendal, 47, was arrested by the Florida Highway Patrol on charges that also include driving without a license. She was booked into the Hernando County Jail and remained in custody in lieu of $55,000 bail.

The fatal collision happened late in the afternoon of Jan. 5 on U.S. 19 near Forest Oaks Boulevard, authorities said.

Diffendal was driving a 2003 Ford Mustang south and lost control of her car. She crossed the median and struck a 1989 Pontiac Firebird driven by Jeanine Costello Bethoney of Spring Hill, authorities said.

Bethoney died from her injuries about two hours later at Oak Hill Hospital.

Toxicology results later showed that Diffendal had been driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, according to the FHP.

Spring Hill woman charged with DUI manslaughter in crash 09/24/08 [Last modified: Monday, September 29, 2008 3:50pm]
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