TAMPA, Fla. — A former pool service truck driver pleaded guilty to the charge of DUI manslaughter in a Hillsborough County court Tuesday.
Benjamin Ehas, 32, admitted to driving under the influence, killing George Gage, 70, who was walking on the sidewalk along Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard.
Ehas told investigators he drank two fireball whiskey shots and smoked marijuana before driving a Pinch A Penny truck on January 9, 2020.
Witnesses reported Ehas weaving in and out of traffic and going twice the speed limit before veering off the road, hitting Gage.
Ehas registered a BAC of .234 and had Xanax in his system.
At Tuesday’s court hearing, Ehas took responsibility for what happened that deadly day along the iconic stretch of sidewalk known for pedestrian walking, biking and running.
“I am deeply sorry for the life I took way too early,” said Ehas. “And I just hope the family one day can have forgiveness in their hearts.”
Ehas will serve up to 12 years in prison and will not be allowed to drive once he is released.
Ehas is also sentenced to pay a $1,000 fine, attend DUI school, undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation and spend 33 months on probation upon release.
“I don’t think anything provides comfort to the family in a situation where they’re never going to see their loved one again,” said State Attorney Andrew Warren. “The fact that we were able to achieve an appropriate, long sentence, I think, provides some closure.”
Gage’s family was not present for the hearing due to COVID-19 restrictions but released a statement that was read by prosecuting attorney Stephanie Pizarro.