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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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The charge is DUI-manslaughter
The case stems from an April wreck that killed a soldier.
By JOHN FRANK
Published July 26, 2007
Andrew Cuthbertson was a passenger in a pickup that drove through a red light and into the path of a freight truck.
BROOKSVILLE - Headed west on Powell Road, Rickey Scroggins stopped at U.S. 41 for a red light.
It was still dark, just 5 a.m. on Wednesday, April 27. On the bench seat of his 1994 Chevrolet pickup sat three passengers: his girlfriend, her friend and her friend's fiance, Andrew Cuthbertson, an Army private who arrived home on leave just a day before.
The crew spent the night partying and drinking. Now they were headed home. Scroggins, the only legal drinker at age 23, was impaired with a 0.096 percent blood-alcohol level.
It's what happened next - after Scroggins stopped at the traffic light - that Cuthbertson's mother just doesn't understand. "He knew the light was red because he stopped," Laurie Martinez said.
Scroggins started driving through the intersection of the six-lane divided highway against the light. He made it through the northbound lanes before a mail freight truck driving south on U.S. 41 slammed into the left side of the pickup.
Cuthbertson, 19, was sitting against the passenger door. He died at the scene.
On Wednesday, prosecutors and investigators revealed these new details as they discussed the recent charges filed against Scroggins.
The Bushnell man was arrested July 15 and charged with DUI manslaughter. He also faces charges of driving under the influence resulting in serious bodily injury, personal injury and property damage. Florida law presumes a driver is impaired at a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent.
Scroggins' family did not return calls Wednesday seeking comment.
For Martinez, the new details are hard to swallow, especially knowing Scroggins initially stopped. "That is why I hold him responsible for the death of my son," she said.
Martinez also doesn't understand why Scroggins didn't swerve before the accident. She was told by investigators that the pickup was going about 20 mph at the time of the collision while the mail truck was traveling about 50 mph in a 55 mph zone.
"I'm glad they are going forward" with charges, she said. "Whatever he gets as punishment, I hope it gives him time to think."
Her son, known to family as "Andy," arrived home in Brooksville for two weeks' leave just 30 hours before the accident. The high school dropout joined the Army for a fresh start in September.
He had just completed an advanced training course at Fort Knox, in Tennessee. Next was Fort Riley in Kansas, and within a year, Iraq. He aspired to be an Army Ranger.
Cuthbertson proposed to his girlfriend, Danika Pavelski, 19, at Christmas. While he was home on leave the two planned to set a wedding date.