Gainesville man arrested on DUI manslaughter charge

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Police have arrested a driver accused of killing a pedestrian last year while driving high on marijuana with an expired license in a late night crash. 

Kevin Elisha Burgess, 49, of Gainesville was arrested Thursday, according to court records. Prosecutors charged him Aug. 25 with felony driving under the influence causing a death and driving without a valid license.

Burgess was accused of hitting Joseph Maligno, 68, who was crossing Northeast Waldo Road about 9 p.m. on Nov. 22. Burgess told police that a car in front of him changed lanes and he could not stop before his car struck Maligno, who was not in a crosswalk. 

Other drivers told police that Burgess appeared to be speeding and said Burgess didn’t make any efforts to brake or avoid the man, who died at the scene. Police at the scene said Burgess “had bloodshot watery eyes, spoke with a slurred speech and was unsteady on his feet,” court records said.

Tests measured Burgess’ blood-alcohol level at .035 and said he had so much of the active ingredient in marijuana, Tetrahydrocannabinol, that it would impair a normal person’s faculty, according to court records. 

Burgess could not be reached for comment. He was in the jail on a $100,000 bond, and the sheriff’s office does not permit detainees to speak with news organizations without the signed consent of a defense lawyer and a senior jail official. 

Burgess has felony convictions dating back to 1994 for possession and sale of cocaine and for possession of a firearm by a felon. 

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This is a breaking news story. Check back for further developments. Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

About Alexa Herrera

Alexa is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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