Robert McCraw, 44, will spend the next five years in prison for the 2011 vehicular manslaughter death of a 75-year-old man.
McCraw, as instructed by his doctor, had taken a second prescribed Xanax the afternoon of Jan. 3, 2011, while experiencing a panic attack, said McCraw's attorney, Morris Purcell.
According to a Florida Highway Patrol crash report, McCraw drove through a red light while traveling south on U.S. 19 at Pepper Street, hitting the driver's side door of Ludolf and Christa Breymann's Toyota Corolla, which in turn hit another car.
The report lists the weather as "clear" that day, road conditions as "dry." McCraw was not distracted, the report said, but listed drug use as a possibility.
Ludolf Breymann was pronounced dead that afternoon at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point.
On the FHP crash report, Christa Breymann's condition was listed as "incapacitating."
Prosecutor Bill Catto called the Breymanns an "old school couple," with Ludolf Breymann in the "traditional husband role" and Christa as a homemaker.
"She went along for the ride, so to speak," Catto said, adding he wasn't sure Mrs. Breymann knew how to drive or balance a checkbook on her own.
Mrs. Breymann has since moved to Pennsylvania to be closer to her children, and was not in court Wednesday.
"The loss is much greater than a fellow deceased," Catto said.
Purcell said the accident circumstances are "very unique" and pointed out McCraw had no prior convictions and recommended his client receive community control and 15 years of drug offender probation.
This case is different from vehicular manslaughter cases because McCraw didn't "get liquored up and drive," Purcell said.
The amount of Xanax was taken within the "manufacturer standards," according to Purcell.
Though McCraw, a former teacher at Spring Hill Elementary, was not injured, he was involved in an accident in New York City while out on bail for the fatal accident.
McCraw sustained "brain damage" and "crippling injuries," according to Purcell. McCraw walked with a cane Wednesday, and spent most of the hearing sitting in a chair.
Before being sentenced by Judge Daniel Merritt Sr., McCraw apologized, saying, "words can't take back the life I took."
McCraw said he "surely would" give his life for Breymann if he could.
"I wish I could do something proactive to help the victim," McCraw said.
Merritt said that although McCraw's case "differs from a normal DUI manslaughter case" involving alcohol or drugs, the defendant still "made a conscious decision to continue to drive" after taking an additional Xanax.
In addition to the five-year prison sentence, McCraw will serve concurrent sentences for the two lesser charges of DUI with serious bodily injuries and DUI with damage to a person or property, as well as 10 years probation and a permanent driver's license suspension.