A riveting case of drunk driving manslaughter finally ends with a 12 year prison sentence, a $14 million jury ward and another million as a settlement for punitive damages. It was Christmas Day in 2007 when David Belniak, 38, rear-ended his Nissan Titan pickup at between 75-85 mph into an SUV that had stopped at a red light on US-19 at Little Road in New Port Richey, Florida.
Authorities found Belniak had a cocktail of alcohol, Xanax and cocaine in his system.
They left behind three children who have lost both parents and one grandparent in that accident. The Bassi girls have gotten a $15 million award, but that is of little solace right now because they may never see the money.
Belniak pleaded guilty to three counts of DUI manslaughter and is now serving a 12-year prison sentence to be followed by a 10-year probation period. His driving license has been permanently revoked and he has agreed to waive the right to request a reinstatement of his license.
In the meantime, he tried a lot of tricks to minimize the damage, including a counter lawsuit claiming damages that was filed against Ray McWilliams. This lawsuit claimed that McWilliams' was at fault for the accident. Suits filed by both sides were combined into a single trial where the jury found McWilliams was not at fault and declared a $14 million award for the McWilliams and Bassi estates.
Immediately after the accident, Belniak transferred all his assets to his parents to avoid the inevitable civil lawsuit claims. Lawyers for the McWilliams and Bassi estates have now filed a case about the transfer of assets to Belnaik's parents.
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