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20-Year-Old Charged with Pasco DUI Manslaughter
Joshua Aaron Fieger, 20, of Hudson charged last week with DUI manslaughter, DUI and DUI with damage to property or person in Pasco County. The charges relate back to a December 2009 accident that killed 19-year-old Justin Dawson.
Fieger was allegedly driving his 2001 Dodge Ram pickup southbound on Hicks Road when he hit Dawson, who was riding his bicycle, from behind. The accident occurred at about 5:30pm. Dawson died the following day.
Authorities charged Fieger this month – over a year after the accident. Law enforcement alleges that Fieger was under the influence of marijuana and prescription pills at the time of the accident. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Fieger had taken Oxycodone (a painkiller), Xanax, Valium and Nordiazepam (all anti-anxiety medications).
According to the accident report, Fieger stopped his truck and parked after hitting Dawson. He allegedly stumbled and slurred his speech.
FHP indicated that the charges in this case were delayed because of the blood tests required to determine the type and amount of drugs in a person’s system. Florida law establishes that someone is guilty of the crime of DUI if they are driving while under the influence of a controlled substance when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired. Prosecutors will have to prove – probably by eyewitness testimony – that Fieger’s normal faculties were impaired. This is where the descriptions of his slurred speech and stumbling will be key evidence for the State.
If convicted of the most serious charge, DUI manslaughter, Fieger faces up to 15 years in prison.