A Jacksonville man was sentenced last week to 15 years in state prison for a crash that killed his best friend in 2010. Klay Williams was convicted of DUI manslaughter in January and was facing up to 15 years in prison, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The judge this week handed down the maximum possible sentence, reasoning that the crash itself and Williams' actions following the crash justified the sentence, the newspaper reported.
Williams was speeding in his pick-up truck about 10:30 p.m. when he hit a fence. The fence shattered and part of it hit his friend Mitchell Green in the head and knocked Green unconscious, the newspaper reported. The point prosecutors seemed to hammer in the sentencing is when a neighbor and a paramedic responded to the Jacksonville DUI crash, Williams was outside of the truck and told him he was fine - making no mention of Green being passed out inside the truck. The neighbor saw Green and alerted the paramedic. Green died from his injuries a week later, the newspaper reported. Williams also initially told police that Green was driving, which was later proven to be untrue.
When it comes to sentencing in Jacksonville DUI cases, or any other case for that matter, an attempted cover-up can be more detrimental to a person than the actual crime itself. In Williams' case, there didn't appear to be any effort to help his friend, and prosecutors inferred that a delay in medical help could have been a factor in Green dying from his injuries. That's tough to overcome in a sentencing, especially when the victim is the supposed to be defendant's best friend. Williams' blood-alcohol level was .17 - more than double the legal limit of .08.
In traditional Jacksonville Driving Under the Influence cases where a person is pulled over by the police and suspected of DUI, the driver can refuse to submit to a breath test. But, Florida law allows police to take a blood test when the crash involves an injury and they did so in this case. There wasn't much question in this Jacksonville DUI case that Williams was drunk, and the jury agreed in the trial earlier this year. A blood-alcohol level that high is tough to overcome, especially when the accident causes serious injury or death. And people tend to put more weight in a test that comes directly from someone's blood, versus the breathalyzer machine that has been attacked for years over accuracy concerns.
Our Jacksonville DUI attorney has represented hundreds of people suspected of DUI and knows the strict rules and procedures police must follow to properly make a Jacksonville DUI arrest. Failure to follow these legal guidelines could lead to a situation where the traffic stop in not admissible in court, which greatly reduces and can even eliminate the evidence against you or your loved one.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Duval County DUI Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.