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Manhard v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, First District

October 1, 2019

Kenneth Lee Manhard, Appellant,
v.
State of Florida, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.

          On appeal from the Circuit Court for Bay County. Michael C. Overstreet, Judge.

          Andy Thomas, Public Defender, Danielle Jorden, Assistant Public Defender, Tallahassee, for Appellant.

          Ashley Moody, Attorney General, Sharon S. Traxler, Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.

          B.L. Thomas, J.

         Appellant challenges his judgment and sentence for leaving the scene of a crash involving death, DUI manslaughter, and driving while license canceled, suspended, or revoked, causing serious bodily injury or death. We affirm because the evidence was sufficient to sustain the conviction, and the trial court's relevant evidentiary rulings were correct.

         Facts

         All charges arose from a crash on April 7, 2016, that resulted in the death of a motorcycle driver. The parties stipulated that Appellant had a suspended driver's license at the time of the offense. Eyewitnesses testified that Appellant had been driving a white Hyundai sedan that morning. One witness testified that Appellant had appeared intoxicated at 3:54 a.m. when Appellant drove away in an undamaged white sedan. Other witnesses stated that between 4 and 5 a.m., they saw Appellant sitting behind the driver's seat of a white sedan with his eyes closed. They testified there was damage to the front of the vehicle and windshield, with the windshield containing a "butt print," blood, and hair. They also testified Appellant stated he had not hit anybody and that "someone threw a scooter at me."

         A highway patrol officer testified that he responded to the scene of an accident involving the death of a motorcycle driver on Hathaway Bridge. The officer stated the damage to the rear and side of the motorcycle was consistent with a rear-end collision, and blood pools on the bridge indicated the motorcycle's driver had been hit and then moved by subsequent collisions. He testified that dispatch notified him of a suspect vehicle at a nearby gas station, where he observed Appellant next to a white Hyundai sedan, which had a damaged front end and windshield. He noted that both the blood and the "significant nature" of the deformed windshield showed the vehicle made contact with a human body, and there was an injury. In addition, he observed blue and green paint consistent with the victim's license plate, which had transferred onto the white vehicle.

         A forensic pathologist testified that the cause of death was multiple blunt injuries, each of which could have caused great bodily harm. She stated, however, that it was impossible to determine which of the multiple impacts caused which specific injury.

         After the State rested, Appellant moved for judgment of acquittal on all counts. Regarding the charge of leaving the scene of a crash involving death, Appellant argued the State failed to establish he knew or should have known he was involved in a crash with a person. He also argued the State failed to establish that he knew or should have known his crash with the victim resulted in the victim's death. He asserted that a driver must know of the specific impact that resulted in injury, when the crash involves multiple impacts.

         As to the DUI manslaughter charge, Appellant argued the State failed to establish that he was impaired at the time he was in actual physical control of the vehicle or that he caused or contributed to the victim's death. Lastly, regarding the charge of driving while license canceled, suspended, or revoked causing serious bodily injury or death, Appellant argued the State failed to provide evidence that Appellant drove carelessly or negligently. The trial court denied Appellant's motion on all counts.

Before trial, Appellant filed a motion in limine, stating:
The State [intends] to show the video from the backseat of [a] Trooper['s] vehicle. The video contains reference to matters which have been suppressed, crimes not charged, and further matters which ...

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