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Lake County civic leader faces DUI, manslaughter charges

A former assistant county attorney and assistant public defender from Taveres, Fla. has been charged with DUI and manslaughter after being accused of causing a motorcycle accident that resulted in the wrongful death of a 61-year-old man.

The accident occurred when the suspect was returning from a local high school football game in 2009. On his way home, he turned his truck into an oncoming motorcycle. The rider was ejected from his vehicle and was killed.

Officers with the Florida Highway Patrol claim that the suspect's blood alcohol concentration was approximately 0.16 percent at the time of the crash, double the legal limit in Florida. Investigators also report that they found a half full bottle of vodka in the suspect's truck.

The suspect does not plan to fight the charges, adopting an open plea after failing to reach an agreement with the state's attorney. Several witnesses, including the president of a nearby community college, a state representative and two judges are scheduled to testify on behalf of the suspect, most likely to convince the judge to be lenient during the sentencing process.

At the sentencing hearing, the suspect will need to prove that the accident was an isolated incident. Before his arrest, the man was known throughout the community for contributing to civic works and charities.

While the suspect's supporters are seeking a reduced sentence, prosecutors are urging the judge to make his or her decision using state sentencing guidelines, recommending that the suspect be incarcerated for 9 and a half to 15 years.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Judges, other civic leaders to speak up for Bruce Duncan in DUI death case," Stephen Hudak, Aug. 7, 2011

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