Former schoolteacher Robert McCraw was sentenced last week in Hernando County’s circuit court for the DUI manslaughter of Ludolf Breymann in Spring Hill. The accident occurred on January 3, 2011. McCraw was sentenced to five years in prison for driving under the influence of legal prescription drug Xanax.
McCraw drove his Cadillac through a red light at U.S. 19 and Pepper Street in Spring Hill and collided with Ludolf and Christa Breymann’s Toyota. Ludolf Breymann was driving and passed away later in the ER. Christa Breymann was severely injured.
At his sentencing hearing, McCraw apologized profusely, saying “If I was able to give my life for Mr. Breymann’s, I surely would. I’m horrified for what I’ve done. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t deserve to live. Mr. Breymann deserves to live.”
In handing down McCraw’s sentence, the judge acknowledged that McCraw was not under the influence of an illicit, illegal drug. McCraw had a prescription for Xanax to treat anxiety attacks. The day of the crash, he suffered an anxiety attack and took another pill.
A deputy at the scene noticed McCraw was having trouble staying awake after the crash. Toxicology results showed he had more than the therapeutic dose of the drug in his system.
McCraw entered an open plea, a guilty plea without a negotiated plea agreement with the prosecutor, last year to DUI manslaughter and two other charges. With no prior criminal history, he faced up to 20 years in prison and a year in the county jail.
Strangely, when McCraw was free on bond after the accident, he was hit by a vehicle in New York City, leaving him permanently disabled with brain damage and crippling injuries. His defense attorney asked for a departure from sentencing guidelines and requested that he be sentenced to two years of house arrest and 15 years of drug offender probation.