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Man now in jail here in fatal DUI case

A 40-year-old man was in local custody Wednesday in connection with a 2001 drunken driving death.

John J. Ogden, 40, faces a DUI manslaughter charge in the Oct. 2, 2001, death of Largo resident Lisa A. Hall, 35. Authorities say Ogden was driving a 1984 Cadillac that skidded off Alt. U.S. 19 in the early morning hours and hit a power pole south of Crystal Beach Drive.

By the time authorities arrived, Ogden had dragged Hall from the car. She was dead, and he suffered minor injuries. Neither had been wearing a seat belt, authorities said.

Though Ogden had a blood-alcohol count over the legal limit at which impairment is presumed, he told Florida Highway Patrol troopers that Hall had been driving. There were no other witnesses to the crash to contest his story, said prosecutor Scott Rosenwasser.

However, blood was spattered inside the car. Rosenwasser said the prosecutor originally assigned to the case left the State Attorney's Office, so he inherited it last year. Though some DNA tests of the blood had been run, Rosenwasser had more tests done that showed only Ogden could have been the driver, he said.

The DNA tests, along with an expert's accident reconstruction, took several months to complete, Rosenwasser said.

Meanwhile, Ogden left the state for Louisiana. In July, a warrant was issued for Ogden's arrest on a DUI manslaughter charge. Had that warrant not been filed by October, the three-year statute of limitations would have expired, Rosenwasser said.

Later this summer, a police officer in Louisiana pulled over a car with Ogden inside. When the officer ran his name through the computer, the Pinellas County warrant popped up. Ogden was taken into custody, then extradited to Pinellas county.

He arrived Wednesday morning at the Pinellas County Jail, where he was being held in lieu of $22,500 bail. He also is charged with violating the conditions of his probation on a previous disorderly intoxication charge, court records show.

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