Deputies: Florida man arrested in fatal crash year after woman was accused

CLEARWATER, Fla. — A Florida man is accused of being the driver of a vehicle when a pedestrian was killed last year, instead of the woman who was originally charged, authorities said.

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Adam Wayne Garabrant, 60, of Seminole, was arrested Thursday and charged with one count of leaving the scene of a crash involving death, according to a news release from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Thomas Rothwell, 70, of St. Petersburg, was crossing “in the area of a designated crosswalk” in Seminole at 12:49 a.m. EST on Dec. 16, 2021, when he was struck by the driver of a red 2014 Chevrolet Camaro, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Rothwell died at the scene, deputies said.

According to investigators, Francine Mashtare, 54, of Seminole, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence manslaughter on the night of the crash, the sheriff’s office said in its release.

She was later released after posting $20,000 bail, online booking records show.

During the course of their investigation, deputies said Garabrant was captured on video leaving The Liquid Therapy Bar in Pinellas Park minutes before the crash, WFLA-TV reported. He was allegedly shown driving the Camaro that killed Rothwell.

According to the sheriff’s office news release, investigators alleged that Garabrant admitted to the owner of the bar that he was the driver and should have been arrested.

Investigators also determined that Mashtare, now 55, was the passenger in the vehicle, the Times reported. Her DUI manslaughter charge will be amended to a DUI, the sheriff’s office said.

Garabrant was booked into the Pinellas County Jail and was later released after posting bail of $50,000, according to Pinellas County Sheriff’s online booking records.