Two and a half years after the August 2009 car crash that killed Leigh Ann Hallett and Robert Hallett of New Port Richey, 27-year-old Michelle Marie Jensen was charged with DUI manslaughter and arrested. After being booked into the Pinellas County Jail this week, she was released on $40,000 bond.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, investigators believe that Jensen was traveling at 83 mph on McMullen Booth Road in Palm Harbor when her car collided with a Toyota Camry. The Halletts’ Camry was reportedly in the intersection of Boot Ranch Boulevard when Jensen’s car hit the driver’s side. The Halletts were the only occupants and were both killed.
Troopers noted in their report that they smelled the odor of alcohol on Jensen after the crash. Jensen suffered critical injuries in the crash as well and was hospitalized. An analysis of two blood samples taken after the crash at the hospital allegedly indicated that Jensen had a blood alcohol level between 0.09 and 0.11. Jensen was hospitalized with serious injuries after the crash. In Florida, a driver is presumed impaired for the purposes of driving at .08 percent blood-alcohol level.
There was no indication in the media reports as to why it took so long for charges to be filed in this case.
If convicted of DUI manslaughter, Jensen will face up to 15 years in a Florida State correctional institution, in addition to a fine of up to $10,000, on each count.
If you or someone you know is facing DUI charges in the Tampa Bay area, you are well-advised to contact an experienced DUI defense attorney to help you navigate the criminal and administrative implications of a DUI charge and/or conviction.