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DUI Manslaughter trial opens

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Published:   |   Updated: October 9, 2013 at 10:51 AM

BROOKSVILLE - By the time Noah Dettloff heard the "boom boom boom" of the silver Dodge pickup hit the construction barrels, he knew it was nearly too late to help his co-worker, Steven Thompson.

Back on Nov. 8, 2011, Dettloff and Thompson were working in a construction zone along Spring Hill Drive, just east of the Suncoast Parkway. Dettloff testified Tuesday when he walked away to refill a chalk box, Karen Macchione hit the barricade, and then Thompson, sending him flying through the air.

"I dropped what I was doing and ran toward Steve, looked at her and said a couple of unpleasant things, and ran to Steve to try to do what I could," Dettloff said.

Dettloff said he saw a "dumbfounded" look on Macchione's face right after the accident.

Dettloff said he turned Thompson over, his "fingers slid(ing) inside his gashed up body." He noticed his co-worker was missing items of clothing, and fluids were "leaking from his nose and mouth."

Thompson, 28, of Dade City, was taken by ambulance to Spring Hill Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Macchione, now 47, was charged with DUI manslaughter about six months after the crash. She was in jail for 23 days before posting $35,000 bond, records show. Her trial started with jury selection on Monday, and opening statements on Tuesday.

During his opening, Assistant State Attorney Bill Catto said Macchione was under the influence of prescription medication, including methadone, that impaired her driving and led to the crash that killed Thompson.

Macchione's defense attorney, Timothy Smith, said his client was not impaired by prescribed medication, and only took her thyroid medication that day.

Smith said the jury would hear testimony that Macchione had spoken with some people at the post office minutes before the crash who did not believe she was impaired or under the influence.

Multiple witnesses called by the State recounted the large orange construction barrels along Spring Hill Drive that day, and seeing Thompson working inside the marked construction zone.

Jurors also heard the audio recording from an interview with Macchione less than two hours after the crash.

Corporal David Frye testified that Macchione fell asleep two times during the 15 minute interview.

Macchione is heard on the tape crying, with slurred speech. She recalled driving along Spring Hill Drive when her phone rang, and reaching down to pick it up.

"The next thing I know I was involved with an accident," Macchione said. "And it really happened that quick."

Macchione told Frye she was on numerous medications for chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and a thyroid condition.

After being woken up by the trooper, Macchione said she would never drive under the influence.

"I feel terrible about it, I hope this man is okay," Macchione said.

The trial is expected to continue through Thursday.

wbiddlecombe@hernandotoday.com

(352) 544-5283

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