A Pasco County judge sentenced 22-year-old Joshua Fieger to eight years in prison for the DUI manslaughter of a 19-year-old in Hudson in December 2009. Fieger faced up to 15 years in prison. According to media reports, the judge was moved by evidence of Fieger’s long battle with depression and drug abuse.
Fieger’s truck struck a teenager riding his Huffy bicycle on Hicks Road near Bert Street in Hudson on the evening of December 9, 2009. Fieger was less than a half a mile from his home. Testing of blood taken from Fieger at the scene of the collision showed the presence of prescription drugs including Oxycodone, Xanax, Valium and Nordiazepam.
Both the prosecutor and the defense attorney presented extensive arguments and testimony in support of their sentencing positions. Fieger’s defense attorney argued for the minimum sentence of four years in prison, noting a history of drug dependence and depression. She also pointed out that Fieger fully cooperated with authorities at the scene and during the ensuing investigation.
The Assistant State Attorney asked the court for the maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, arguing that Fieger’s long history of arrests and failed drug rehab stints showed he was not amenable to drug treatment. Fieger himself addressed the court and expressed tearful regret for the young man’s death.
The sentencing judge indicated that, while he was sympathetic to Fieger’s history, the case still warranted prison time. Fieger will also serve seven years of probation and his driver’s license will be revoked for life.