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December 28, 2012

Last month, we wrote about an Apopka man whose lawyer said he was not to blame for a fatal DUI motorcycle accident because the rider was popping a wheelie at the time and his lights were impossible for a driver to see. The man had already served three years of a 12-year sentence in connection with the accident. In September, an appeals court agreed with the man’s lawyer and threw out his DUI manslaughter conviction and the rest of the sentence, saying that the rider had been riding recklessly with his front wheel in the air and could not be seen.

The court ordered Orange-Osceola Circuit Judge Walter Komanski to issue a new sentence in the case. It chastised him for making a major error by allowing jurors to convict the driver of a crime that the state had failed to prove. Judge Komanski did indeed issue a new sentence in the case. He recently ordered the man to serve the remainder of his 12-year sentence in prison.

"It was the intent of the court that he serve a period of incarceration for 12 years," Komanski explained. "That remains the intent."

The accident occurred in Apopka on Jan. 14, 2007, around 2:30 a.m. when the defendant, who was legally drunk, pulled his SUV into the path of the motorcyclist. The collision killed the motorcyclist, who had just recently purchased the motorcycle and did not have a motorcycle license. The bike was badly mangled in the collision, but the headlamp, lights and front fork were in very good condition, causing the appeals court to determine that the rider had been riding on his rear wheel when the collision occurred. The court also ruled that Judge Komanski erred when he failed to issue a judgment of acquittal after the state finished presenting its case at the original trial. The man’s lawyer plans to appeal Judge Komanski’s most recent decision.

Driving while under the influence of alcohol, popping wheelies and other reckless, negligent behavior by drivers and riders are completely preventable, yet thousands of Floridians are injured and killed every year by drunk drivers and reckless riders. The victims are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when a drunk driver pulls out in front of them or a rider doing something reckless collides with their vehicle. If a reckless driver or motorcyclist has injured you or a family member, you have a right to seek damages against the at-fault party and his or her insurer. To speak with an Orlando personal injury attorney to learn more about your rights and legal options, call Mr. Cunningham today at 800-425-2004.

James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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