On Friday, Circuit Judge Glenn Shelby sentenced Michael Rosales, 29, to nine years in prison for killing 22-year-old William Pennock three years ago.
On Oct. 3, 2010, Rosales ran through a red light at the intersection of Wabash Avenue and George Jenkins Boulevard in Lakeland. His 1998 Dodge pickup slammed into Pennock's 2002 Nissan Altima.
Rosales was driving without headlights and was weaving in and out of his lane before the crash, according to witnesses.
Rosales had a blood-alcohol level of .184 (more than twice Florida's legal limit), according to police.
Pennock was transported to Lakeland Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Pennock, a U.S. Army veteran, had recently returned from a deployment in Iraq when he was killed.
Despite Rosales' prior criminal history, he was never deported, which makes this crime even more maddening.
His mother, Kathleen Pennock, told The Ledger:
"We finally had him back home with us. I was totally hysterical. I could not believe my baby boy was dead."
"It is difficult to understand how Michael Rosales was not deported years ago. We feel the justice system failed our family, our society and country."
As part of a plea agreement, Rosales pleaded no contest to DUI manslaughter, leaving the scene of a fatal crash and driving with a suspended or revoked license.