ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Family members of Bobby Stout, a disabled man hit and killed by a drunk driver, are outraged that the driver and her passenger who grabbed the wheel are not facing any jail time.
On Friday afternoon, the driver and passenger pleaded no contest to charges of vehicular homicide. Both will serve one year of community control.
The state attorney's office told Channel 9 in an email last week that the plea deal was approved by the majority of the victim's family. But on Friday the prosecutor told the judge that the sentence was based on the facts and circumstances of the case, and not the family's wishes.
"It's as if we're saying, 'Come to Orlando, get drunk, kill and just get probation,'" said Penny Stout, sister of Bobby Stout.
Natalie Houle had a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit on July 9, 2011, and her passenger, Travis Main, was also drunk when the accident happened, according to reports.
Investigators said the two were in a fight while driving. Main admitted to grabbing the steering wheel. The car veered over a curb and onto a sidewalk, hitting and killing Stout, a Special Olympics
"No parent should lose a child, much less in such a horrific way," said Lucille Stout,
Bobby Stout's mother.
Family members said they felt pressure to keep it short.
Judge Janet Thorpe told them that she had a funeral to go to at 3 p.m.
To the dismay of Stout's family, Houle and Main received one year of community control and 14 years of probation. They received no jail time.
"It is highly unusual, if not an irregularity, for the state to offer a non-prison sanction when the blood alcohol level is twice the legal limit," said WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer.
Channel 9 looked at similar DUI manslaughter cases. The 38-year-old son of a former Orange County commissioner received 10 years in prison. In Lake County, civic leader Bruce Duncan also got 10 years.
Penny Stout said she wonders if Houle's and Main's penalties were so light because her brother had special needs.
"I think this is telling Orlando you had better be careful with your challenged loved ones, because if they get run down and killed, the people who did it are going to get away with it," said Penny Stout.
State Attorney Jeff Ashton declined an interview to discuss why his office did not ask for jail time.