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Brooksville woman convicted of DUI manslaughter

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Published:   |   Updated: October 10, 2013 at 05:29 PM

BROOKSVILLE - A Brooksville woman who hit and killed a construction worker on Spring Hill Drive in November 2011 was convicted Thursday of DUI manslaughter.

Six jurors, one male and five females, took about two hours to deliberate, and re-listen to two audio interviews Macchione gave to a Florida Highway Patrol corporal on the afternoon of the accident.

Macchione, who was observed nodding off at the crash scene and during the interview, consented to a blood draw. The blood test found methadone in Macchione's system, a drug she said she had been prescribed for pain management.

Macchione, who was emotional at many points throughout the trial, was composed as the verdict was read. After Judge Anthony Tatti adjudicated her guilty of DUI manslaughter, Macchione took off her jewelry before being handcuffed and taken into custody.

She did not look back at her family as a bailiff led her out of the courtroom.

Donann Gleason, the mother of slain construction worker Steven Thompson, said she had "mixed emotions" after the verdict was read.

"I feel bad because she's a mother, and she had to do that," Gleason said.

The Pennsylvania woman said her 28-year-old son was "out to enjoy life" at the time of his death and "still learning." Thompson was living and caring for his grandparents in Dade City, who called him the "golden child" because he was their only grandson, Gleason said.

Gleason said one of the hardest things since the accident has been knowing Macchione has been out on bond leading up to the trial, spending time with her children, family and friends.

"He was a wonderful person, you probably won't ever see someone like that in a lifetime," said Sonny Mylle, Thompson's former roomate and close friend.

Mylle said he and Thompson both loved the band Incubus, and went to a concert together not long before his death.

"I still have the t-shirt I never paid him back for," Mylle said. "It's still hanging up in my closet."

During closing arguments Thursday morning, Prosector Bill Catto asked jurors to use their "common sense" when considering the evidence, including Macchione's testimony during the trial.

Catto said Macchione "exhibited the same symptoms on trial for DUI manslaughter," that she did the day of the crash, such as fatigue and slurred speech.

Catto said Macchione "seemed close to falling asleep on the witness stand" and "doubt(ed)" she hadn't taken methadone for two days.

Defense attorney Timothy Smith said the jurors should consider if the fatal crash occurred because Macchione's "natural abilites were impaired because of the use of methadone."

Smith maintained the blood test found very low levels of methadone in Macchione's blood, and troopers "didn't bother" to ask Macchione's doctors if Macchione was taking the perscribed amount of the controlled substance.

Smith also said the construction zone was poorly marked, and uneven pavement might have caused Macchione's truck to swerve and crash into Thompson.

In a rebuttal closing argument, Catto said Macchione had no business driving a car while taking methadone, given her health issues, including hypothyroidism.

"That day she chose to drive anyway, and because she chose to drive Steven Thompson is dead," Catto said. "That's what it's really all about."

Macchione is set to be sentenced on Nov. 26 at 11 a.m. She faces up to 15 years in prison.

wbiddlecombe@hernandotoday.com

(352) 544-5283

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