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House arrest given in DUI death

The former sheriff's deputy who had pleaded no contest to striking and killing a man last year while driving drunk in Hernando Beach was sentenced Tuesday to two years of house arrest.

Scott Campbell, 36, of Theresa Drive in Spring Hill will also have to pay $4,600 in restitution and serve four years of probation, said Assistant State Attorney Don Scaglione.

Campbell entered his plea on the DUI/manslaughter charge in April. A second-degree felony, the charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, Scaglione said. The prosecutor said he had recommended three to seven years.

Circuit Judge Jack Springstead instead followed the recommendation of the state Probation and Parole Office in Brooksville.

Campbell's attorney, former Circuit Judge L. R. Huffstetler Jr., said he agreed with the parole office's recommendation and Springstead's sentencing because of Campbell's "total absence of any traffic infractions . . . the fact that he's always been a productive member of society, and the fact that the victim was under the influence of marijuana and had no tail light (on his bicycle), so he had contributed to his own demise."

If Campbell got a break because of his past employment in law enforcement, "it was not from our office," Scaglione said. He said he was prepared to try the case when Campbell entered his plea.

"It was not a plea bargain. He entered an open plea before the court," Scaglione said. That allowed the judge to set the sentence.

Campbell had been accused of striking Lynn Edward "Buddy" Davis, 35, last June 26. Davis, who was widely known in Hernando Beach, was riding his bicycle on Shoal Line Boulevard when Campbell's car struck him from behind about 11 p.m.

A breath test taken shortly after the accident showed Campbell's blood-alcohol level at 0.16. At a level of 0.10, Florida presumes that a motorist is unable to drive a vehicle safely.

Campbell was fired from the Sheriff's Office in 1989 for misusing his power as an officer while off duty.

After being fired, he worked as a private investigator for Huffstetler. As a result of the conviction, he will lose his right to work as a law enforcement officer or to obtain a private investigator's license.

"He's lost his work experience. . . . He's lost his livelihood," Huffstetler said. "I'd say that his past record did not require a penalty any more severe than what he received."

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