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DUI sends man back to prison

Convicted of DUI manslaughter in 1995, the probation violator must now serve another five years.

By CARY DAVIS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 7, 2002

NEW PORT RICHEY -- Prison didn't cure Stephen Lore.

He went to prison in 1995 for drunken driving manslaughter and served nearly seven years. He got out in February and wasted little time resuming his old habits.

In May, he picked up a misdemeanor DUI charge in North Carolina. A first-time offender might spend a night in jail on that charge.

But Lore, now 32, is headed back to prison for another five years.

On Wednesday, a judge sentenced Lore to three years and four months in prison for violating his probation on the 1995 DUI manslaughter charge.

In addition, Lore will lose the two years of good behavior credit he earned during his first stay in prison -- time that was subtracted from his original sentence. Those two years will be added to the sentence he received Wednesday, according to a spokeswoman with the state Department of Corrections.

"Obviously, he had no remorse for killing another individual," prosecutor Tom Stathopoulos said after Wednesday's hearing. "Otherwise, he wouldn't have picked up a bottle again."

Lore was 24 when his Chevrolet crossed the center line of Perrine Ranch Road and slammed head-on into another car. The crash killed a passenger in the other car, 74-year-old Opal Hays of New Port Richey. Lore, tests showed, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.16 percent, double the legal limit.

He pleaded no contest to DUI manslaughter and a judge sentenced him to more than eight years in prison.

Two months after he got out, he tested positive for marijuana. A warrant, for violation of probation, was issued for his arrest. Lore fled the state. On May 11, he was arrested in Mooresville, N.C., on charges of DUI and possession of marijuana.

In an August jailhouse interview with the St. Petersburg Times, Lore admitted that he drove drunk several times after he got out of prison.

"It seems silly, when you think about it," he said. "But after you've done something so many times, and you don't think you'll get caught, you keep doing it."

Lore was never supposed to drive again. In 1995, a judge ordered Lore's driver's license suspended for life, as required by law in every DUI manslaughter case.

But two weeks after he got out of prison, the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles mistakenly issued him a driver's license. The Times discovered the error, and the DHSMV has since revoked Lore's driving privileges for life.

Lore told the Times he has had a substance abuse problem since he was 14. He said he needs treatment, not more time in prison, where he had easy access to homemade wine and marijuana.

"Mr. Lore is contrite and has apologized for his actions," his attorney, Christopher Frey, said Wednesday. "Hopefully, he can successfully address the issues he has been attempting to deal with."

-- Cary Davis covers courts in west Pasco County. He can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6236, or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6236. His e-mail address is cbdavis@sptimes.com.

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