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Florida man gets 10-year prison sentence for fatal accident

A 26-year-old Florida man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in a street racing accident that left a teenage boy dead. The case is particularly noteworthy for inspiring Florida legislators to enact harsher penalties for illegal street racing, such as higher fines and license suspension.

Authorities report that the serious car accident occurred as the 15-year-old victim was on his way to play basketball with his friend. Without time to act, the boy was struck by the suspect's car and killed at the scene. Several witnesses claim they saw or heard two cars engaged in a street race moments before the crash. Police say the suspect was traveling at speeds nearly two times higher than the posted speed limit. His car was reportedly heavily modified for street racing. Authorities say the car had a racing seat and tires, a roll-bar, high performance muffler and after-market steering system.

The suspect's attorney said his client is regretful about the accident and has been deeply affected by its aftermath. They argued that the crash was not intentional, claiming that a pizza delivery driver suddenly pulled out in front of the suspect. This prompted him to swerve to avoid an accident, causing him to lose control of his car and strike the victim on a nearby sidewalk. They added that their client was not at risk to re-offend.

The suspect's brother, who testified as a witness for the defense, offered his sympathies to the victim's family, describing how his own mother was killed in a drunk driving accident when her boyfriend crashed the couple's car into a lake. "We understand where the victim's family is coming from. We really are sorry from the bottom of our hearts," said the man. But that does not change the fact that street racing is illegal and extremely dangerous for people nearby.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Orange man gets 10 years in fatal racing crash," Amy Pavuk, Orlando Sentinel

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