SEBRING — In the time since U.S. Marshals brought Samuel Joseph Tucker back from Ireland, he was found indigent for costs and assigned a public defender.

He’s also entered a plea of not guilty to manslaughter while driving under the influence and two charges of DUI property damage resulting from the July 24, 2017 wreck that killed his passenger, 22-year-old Alyssa Kay Vice.

Other than those events, court is proceeding slowly toward a trial date.

His next hearing is set for 8:30 a.m. next Wednesday, Aug. 21.

According to Highlands County Jail records, his charges are driving under the influence and DUI manslaughter. He is being held without bail on both charges.

For now, depositions are being taken and transcribed under contract with the Justice Administrative Commission, with the defendant liable for any due process costs.

If taken to trial and found guilty, such costs will be a judgment lien against him, according to court documents.

Tucker previously admitted to driving northbound on State Road 17 in a Maserati at 3:30 a.m. July 24, 2017. Traveling at a high speed, he lost control at the turn just south of San Juan Avenue, according to affidavits on the case.

Florida Highway Patrol determined the car was going 140 mph just before the crash and was still traveling at 127 mph when it hit a pole, 200 feet from where the car left the road.

It then rolled over several times before stopping. Vice died at the scene.

Tucker survived and was flown to Lakeland Regional Medical Center, where his blood alcohol level measured more than twice the legal limit, FHP reports said.

Soon after his recovery, he disappeared, and was found more than a year later, in August 2018, hiding out in Cork, Ireland. The High Court in Dublin confirmed an extradition order just prior to Jan. 22, when The Irish Times reported on it.

He arrived at the Highlands County Jail late at night on Feb. 15, 2019.


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