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Driver found guilty in bicyclist's death

The right side of her car was nearly destroyed, but Kelly Rochelle Collins told investigators she thought she hit an animal early one morning in November 2001.

She left the scene of the collision without calling police.

But her 1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse had hit and killed Carl Metcalf, a Seminole radio show host, as he rode his bike to work about 4 a.m.

At the time, sheriff's deputies didn't believe Collins. On Thursday, a jury didn't either.

A Pinellas-Pasco jury deliberated for about five hours before finding Collins, 34, guilty of leaving the scene of an accident involving death for the crash that instantly killed Metcalf, 56, on the southbound lane of 113th Street.

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Linda Allan set sentencing for March 1. Collins, who has no previous record, faces anything from probation to 15 years in prison. Collins is free on bail pending sentencing. At a hearing last year, Allan said she was inclined to sentence Collins to five years in prison based on evidence she then knew.

Metcalf's wife, Shirley, wiped tears from her eyes afterward, saying she was pleased with the verdict.

"We are grateful the jury has sent the statement human life is sacred," she said.

Prosecutors Mary Handsel and Jim Hellickson told jurors during the three-day trial that Collins had several drinks before the crash. But they acknowledged they could not prove she was impaired when she hit Metcalf's bicycle.

"We know somehow on a clear, straight, even street she couldn't see or couldn't avoid this bicycle," Handsel told jurors in closing arguments. "She should have been able to see him from miles away."

Collins, who worked as a bartender, turned herself in two days after the crash.

Metcalf hosted the morning show at WKES-FM 91.1, a Christian radio station.

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