On October 30, 2010, dentist Matthew Moye had a .13 blood alcohol level, far surpassing the .08 threshold at which the state of Florida presumes impairment. Impaired, he chose to drive that night. Going 89 miles per hour, his tire hit a median, which sent him careening toward the right, then the left, and ultimately straight into Douglas Kozar, 23, and Kate Kohlier, 24. The collision killed both young adults, who were walking to their cars after working at the Marriot Waterside. Three years later, a plea agreement has been reached.
On Thursday, Matthew Moye, a Riverview dentist, came to court for a plea agreement: 12 years in person, and then 10 years’ probation for two counts of DUI manslaughter. He could potentially be released in 10 ½ years if he shows good behavior. Many feel the sentence was far too short. Hillsborough has seen many others sentenced to more jail time for the same charges: sometimes 20 to 30 years even. Kathy Kozar, mother of Douglas, said “Of course we are disappointed. But in the end it was all out of our control. So we had to accept it”. Douglas’ brother, Matt, called it “some sort of justice”
Moye’s attorney told the Tampa Bay Times that he had advised his client not to attend because Moye had received “disturbing threats” after the crash. While out on bail. Moye did continue to run his business, Big Bend Dental. Thursday he looked directly at each family member who spoke, his expression never changing.
The victims’ families had the chance to share memories and tales of loss in court. They took the opportunity, and even brought framed family photos to the lectern.
Douglas Kozar was quiet, introspective and artistic young man who loved fishing. He was a mechanically minded young man and wanted to get into law enforcement someday. Douglas’ father, Russ Kozar, turned to Moye and said “I have no forgiveness for you, and I have no sympathy”.
Kate Kohlier was a people person majoring in psychology. More than 300 came to her memorial. One attendee said that Kate had talked him out of suicide. Kate Kohlier’s mother, Cindy Collins, spoke softly about her only daughter. Even in her 20s, Kate would text her mom each morning: “Morning, mama.” Halloween and Christmas were her favorites. Each year, when Collins sees the decorations in the store for the first time, she cries knowing it is another year of loss.
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Hopefully this highly publicized story will remind others in the Tampa Bay Area of the dangers of drunk driving. Hopefully some good will come out of this horrible tragedy. With holidays just around the corner, Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA wants to remind everyone to drive safely and proceed with caution. There are several irresponsible and reckless people on the roadways. Not just inebriated individuals, but distracted drivers as well. Drive defensively as best you can. And of course, if you have been drinking call a cab or get a designated driver to take you home. If you are out and you see someone who has been drinking, do everything you can to stop them from getting behind the wheel. Call the authorities if need be, but do not let another drunk driver get on the roads. The number of collisions caused by drunk drivers is staggering. If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision caused by a person driving under the influence, let us help you get the compensation you deserve. Give the experienced and qualified personal injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA a call today: (727)451-6900.