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Pinellas County woman arrested for DUI crash that killed motorcyclist

Posted at 2:55 PM, Jun 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-03 18:33:38-04

CLEARWATER, Fla. — A motorcyclist was killed on Saturday when he was hit by a woman who was driving under the influence with two kids in the backseat, according to police.

Jeffrey Pearl, 56, was thrown from his motorcycle after 29-year-old Kelley Nicole Zielinski made a left turn in front of him, according to authorities. It happened around 5 p.m.

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Pearl was driving northbound on Ft. Harrison Avenue while Zielinski was going southbound. Authorities say she made a left turn onto Belleview Boulevard, directly in the path of Pearl.

Pearl was ejected and later died at an area hospital. Zielinski was arrested at the scene for DUI manslaughter.

Police say she also faces child neglect charges because her child, as well as the child of her passenger, were in the vehicle at the time of the accident.

Officials say she failed field sobriety tests and showed signs of impairment.

No one in Zielinski's vehicle was injured.

Just before the fatal crash, arrest records show that Zielinski was involved in a road rage incident with another woman. Stacey Maurer, 52, was arrested for battery and driving under the influence at the scene of the crash.

According to records, Zielinski told authorities Maurer was driving recklessly and following her closely prior to the crash. The records say Zielinski got out of her car while stopped at a red light and confronted Maurer over her driving.

Maurer ran at Zielinski and attacked her, according to the records. Then she followed Zielinski and saw the crash involving Pearl.

After witnessing the crash, records show that Maurer got out of her vehicle and used an open hand to slap Zielinski in the face.

Maurer was not involved in the crash.

First responders who were on scene responding to the crash saw the attack, according to records.

Maurer was taken into custody and was "extremely uncooperative" the records state. She was unstable on her feet, had slurred speech and a strong odor of alcohol to her breath, the records state.

June Pearl says the crash leaves her heartbroken. Her son, Jeff, was killed. “Jeff had a heart as big as all outdoors," June Pearl explained while telling stories about how her son helped every neighbor in their community. "I could not believe it was my son that died. I think I cried for a day and a half.”

Suzanne O’Barr, the owner of Fluffy Puppies, witnessed the crash. “It was just the most horrific thing you’ve ever seen. To drink and drive is unthinkable. I’m just so angry," she exclaimed. “It was totally senseless.”

ABC Action News tried knocking on both women's doors. Someone at Zielinski's home closed a door on us. Nobody answered at Mauer's home.

“That driver has no idea what she took from me. She took half my heart," June Pearl said with emotion.

Both women have bonded out of jail.