TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A Tampa Bay area man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for leaving the scene after a drunken driving crash.
A Hillsborough County judge sentenced 29-year-old Hank Tippins on Friday after he pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident. He had faced up to 47 years in prison.
Authorities say Tippins was drunk when he ran a red light and hit several cars in December 2011. The crash left 64-year-old Linda Fessell dead.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that authorities tracked Tippins’ white Hummer to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino after he fled the scene. Three hours after the crash, Tippins had a blood alcohol level of 0.25 percent. Florida law considers a driver impaired at 0.08 percent.
TAMPA — Hank Tippins could barely get the words out between sobs that racked his body so hard he hunched over and gasped for air.
"I’m so sorry for what I did to your mom and your family," he said haltingly. "I’m so sorry. I should have never been drinking that night. I should have never gotten in the car to drive."
Tippins, a 29-year-old engineer with a wife and a master’s degree, had a 0.25 percent blood alcohol level about three hours after he ran a red light and hit several cars on Dec. 11, 2011, killing 64-year-old Linda Fessell, a longtime city of Tampa employee and breast cancer survivor.