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WTSP anchor sentenced for driving offense

Originally charged with DUI, Reginald Roundtree pleads no contest to reckless driving in a plea deal.

By CHRIS TISCH
Published February 9, 2006


LARGO - WTSP-Ch. 10 anchor Reginald Roundtree was sentenced to six months probation Wednesday after pleading no contest to a charge stemming from a traffic arrest in December.

Roundtree, 47, was arrested by a Clearwater police officer on a DUI charge after he was seen going nearly twice the 45 mph speed limit on the Courtney Campbell Parkway.

Prosecutors reduced the charge to reckless driving, partially because an in-car police video of his field sobriety tests had no sound, said Pat Siracusa, a Pinellas-Pasco assistant state attorney.

Roundtree pleaded no contest to that charge, a misdemeanor, Wednesday morning. As part of a plea deal, judgment against Roundtree was withheld. He must attend DUI school and pay $603 in fines and costs. He also can petition to have his probation ended after three months.

Siracusa said Roundtree received no special treatment because of his celebrity. In fact, Siracusa, a veteran prosecutor and assistant chief for county court, took the case himself.

"If anything, being a public figure caused him to get greater scrutiny," Siracusa said.

Roundtree disputed that he was impaired. He claimed to have had one beer at a Tampa Bay Lightning game, then another drink at the Blue Martini in Tampa.

"He knew he wasn't impaired," said his attorney, Steve Romine. "He's pleased the state properly amended the charge. He's never had a problem taking responsibility for his excessive speed."

Officer Melissa Harris said Roundtree did poorly on field sobriety tests, smelled of alcohol and had bloodshot eyes.

Roundtree said he did fine on the tests and blamed his bloodshot eyes on allergies.

Roundtree said he was speeding because another car appeared to challenge him to a race. He tried to slow down, but couldn't shake the driver, so he sped up.

Roundtree refused to take a breath test test that night and lost his license for a year.

[Last modified February 9, 2006, 01:29:11]


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