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East County Wednesday, Sep. 16, 2009 6 years ago

Former football coach may face charges

by: The Observer Staff

Florida Highway Patrol investigators have recommended a charge of DUI manslaughter for former Braden River High School head coach Josh Hunter.

The FHP investigation now has been turned over to the State Attorney's Office for review. That office will decide whether to charge Hunter.

“We’ve completed the report and submitted the report to the State Attorney’s Office for review,” Florida Highway Patrol Public Affairs Officer Lt. Chris Miller said.

“It could change. Everything is speculation up to this point.”

Because the case is still under investigation, Miller said he could not release results of blood samples taken from Hunter after a March 21 crash that killed Braden River’s assistant coach Doug Garrity.

Hunter resigned from the PIrates in May, about one month after the tragedy.

According to Florida Highway Patrol reports, Hunter was driving his Ford truck at about 11:50 p.m., March 21, at the on-ramp to Interstate 75 at State Road 681 in Nokomis.

The truck veered off the road and overturned after Hunter failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway, Miller said.

The FHP did not conduct field sobriety tests at the time but took a blood sample from Hunter after the crash

Prosecutors have not released the results of that blood sample.

Last month, Hunter resigned from his physical education teaching position at Braden River. Principal Jim Pauley said the decision was difficult but one Hunter felt was necessary.

"Coach Hunter resigned his teaching position with us and with the county around Aug. 7," Pauley said. ”When he resigned, pretty much he felt his return would be detrimental to the kids, the school. He loved the kids."

As a school community, Pauley said Braden River would continue to support Hunter in any way it can.

“I can’t imagine having to come to school to see and seeing where one of your peers was at and is dead now," Pauley said. "Josh is definitely and thoughts and prayers here.”

State Attorney Earl Varn said he expects his office will have a decision by Oct. 14 or sooner.

For previous coverage of Hunter's resignation as head coach, click here.

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