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    Driver who killed man pleads guilty to reduced charge

    The investigation concluded the man threw himself in front of the car, so the driver's charge was reduced to DUI.

    By WILLIAM R. LEVESQUE

    © St. Petersburg Times, published October 19, 2000


    LARGO -- A Largo man who was legally intoxicated when he struck and killed a pedestrian in July pleaded guilty Wednesday to a reduced DUI charge.

    Donald Eugene Head Jr., 47, of 10609 117th Lane N, was initially charged by police with DUI-manslaughter in the July 27 death of Allen Dale Lomax, who stepped into the path of Head's 1993 Pontiac on Seminole Boulevard.

    But the charge was reduced to misdemeanor DUI after investigators determined the victim had purposely thrown himself into the car's path, said Jay Hebert, Head's attorney.

    "There was no relation between the manner in which Mr. Head was driving and the accident that occurred," Hebert said. "Witnesses said that the victim acted on his own free will. Mr. Head could not prevent the accident."

    Prosecutors could not immediately be reached for comment to explain why Lomax, 28, would have purposely stepped in front of the car.

    Pinellas County Judge Thomas Freeman sentenced Head to a year's probation and DUI school, imposed a $650 fine and ordered him to serve 50 hours of community service. His driver's license was also suspended for six months.

    If Head had been convicted of DUI-manslaughter, he faced a mandatory prison sentence of seven years or more.

    After the accident, tests showed that Head had blood-alcohol levels of 0.098 and 0.097 percent, an arrest affidavit showed.

    Under state law, a person with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent is presumed to be impaired. Head wasn't arrested until September, after police obtained results of his blood-alcohol level.

    "It's been a difficult time for Mr. Head," Hebert said. "And certainly his sympathy goes out to the victim of the family. However, he's very pleased to have his name cleared."

    Lomax and some friends were walking to the Pioneer Pub when he was killed.

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