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Drunk driver gets 13 years in prison for death of couple celebrating 60th anniversary

Samantha King was convicted this week.
Credit: Sarasota County Jail

NORTH PORT, Fla. — The date was March 24, 2019. The Atlanta Braves had just had their spring training home opener in North Port.

Fans were leaving the first game at the new park, and traffic had been stopped on US-41.

At 85 mph, a Kia Forte slammed into a Honda Civic in front of CoolToday Park, killing George and Rose Almeder – who were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.

Investigators determined the Civic driver, who survived, had been drinking with friends at a Venice bar about an hour before crashing into the couple's car. A test revealed a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.232, well above the legal limit for anyone – let alone the 19-year-old driver who wasn't even old enough to drink.

That driver, Samantha King, entered an open plea in court on two charges of DUI manslaughter and four counts of DUI personal injury/property damage. Sentencing lasted five hours Wednesday at the Sarasota County Courthouse.

King was sentenced to 13 years in prison, followed by 17 years probation, State Attorney Ed Brodsky announced Friday.

"Let this case serve as a reminder that choices matter. Because of the selfish behavior of a nineteen year old, a family has been forever changed. George and Rose's 7 sons lost their parents. Their grandchildren will have to go the rest of their lives with only memories of the beautiful life their grandparents lived," Assistant State Attorney Kate Metz, the lead prosecutor in the case, said. "They will not see their grandparents on Christmas or birthdays. Drinking and driving is never okay. This tragedy could have been avoided. It should have been avoided."

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