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Warrants issued in death of guardsman

Two men, including a Coast Guardsman, face manslaughter charges in connection with a December crash that killed a Coast Guardsman.

Scott P. Cummings, 21, was killed when a car and truck collided on Seminole Boulevard. Cummings, a seaman at the Sand Key Coast Guard station, was a passenger in the car, driven by Seaman Apprentice Jason Fratesi.

Largo police say both Fratesi, 24, and the driver of the truck, Cory O'Hanlan, 22, had been drinking that night. Blood tests showed Fratesi had blood-alcohol counts of 0.117 and 0.12, while O'Hanlan's counts were 0.172 and 0.17, said Largo Police Sgt. Butch Ward.

Florida law presumes a motorist is impaired at a blood-alcohol count of 0.08 or higher.

O'Hanlan was arrested on a DUI-manslaughter charge Thursday morning. He was held at the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Fratesi is on military leave and was out of state this week, but he is expected to return to the area Wednesday to turn himself in to police.

Ward said authorities with the Coast Guard are helping him ensure Fratesi comes back to the area.

Cummings and Fratesi were driving home from a Wing House in Pinellas Park when the crash occurred.

From southbound Seminole Boulevard, Fratesi tried to turn left at 16th Avenue SE but was struck by a northbound pickup driven by O'Hanlan.

Ward said O'Hanlan and his passenger were coming from the Time Out Grille and Bar in Seminole.

Cummings was pronounced dead at the scene. Fratesi was taken by helicopter to Bayfront Medical Center with injuries that were not life threatening. O'Hanlan was not injured, police said.

Ward said both drivers contributed to the crash. Fratesi made an improper turn in front of the truck, while O'Hanlan was going 66 mph in a 45 mph zone.

Ward said police recently obtained a warrant for the arrest of both men. The investigation took some time because prosecutors wanted someone to independently reconstruct the crash, Ward said.

The reconstruction matched what police had determined.

Both O'Hanlan and Fratesi have been able to drive in the time since the crash, but Ward said police could do nothing about that until the investigation was complete.

"You have to be patient with these things," he said.

Cummings, who is from New Jersey, had been with the U.S. Coast Guard station on Sand Key for about a year.

_ Chris Tisch can be reached at 445-4156 or tischsptimes.com.

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