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Drunk driver to serve 10 years in prison for Florida accident

A Florida woman who allegedly caused a fatal car accident while under the influence of alcohol has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty. She was still on probation for a previous DUI in Lake County at the time of the accident, when she rear-ended the victims' car, sending it off the road.

The latest charges stem from a serious car accident on in the morning of Jan. 1, 2010. According to police, the suspect struck the car of the 18- and 22-year-old victims as they returned from a party. The suspect's car was thrown into a ditch by the collision, requiring her to crawl out before being able to receive medical treatment. According to police records and court documents, she told a paramedic that she had consumed beer and rum before the accident.

Due to the suspect's previous DUI conviction, it was illegal for her to be drinking and driving at all. Regardless of her history, however, police claim that her blood alcohol content was 0.185 percent shortly after the crash, more than twice Florida's legal limit.

The suspect reportedly hesitated when a judge asked for her plea, but she ultimately pled guilty to two charges of DUI manslaughter. When she did so, the families of the victims reportedly began hugging each other and fighting back tears.

The woman may be allowed to leave the state to visit family before serving her prison sentence, but a judge warned her that she could serve as much as 30 years if she fails to follow the rules of her temporary release. She is currently required to wear an electronic tracking device, and her driver's license has been revoked.

The woman's troubles may not be over, though. A guilty plea could strengthen a wrongful death lawsuit, if either of the victims' families wanted to file one.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Apopka woman pleads guilty, will serve 10 years for driving drunk in crash that killed 2," Stephen Hudak, Feb. 28, 2012

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