After a fatal accident on Christmas Day 2007, David Belniak, 37, finally pled guilty. The Spring Hill man was scheduled to trial facing life in prison next week before his final plea on Tuesday, August 16th. Belniak was sentenced 12 years in state prison followed by 10 years of probation for the accident which killed three people.
The accident occurred Christmas day when Belniak’s Nissan Titan rear ended Ray McWilliam’s Chevy Tahoe on US-19. In the passenger seat of the Tahoe was McWilliam’s wife, Linda, 66. Their daughter and son-in-law, Denise and Gerard Bassi were seated in the back. Police reported the Titan to be travelling at least 70 mph at the time of the accident.
Gerard Bassi, 51, died at the scene of the accident. Linda and Denise, 50, were flown to a hospital where they later passed.
Belniak was arrested in January 2008 on accounts of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and a DUI with serious bodily injuries. At the time of the accident, Belniak had alcohol, cocaine and Xanax in his system. However, his alcohol level was below the legal limit and his Xanax was prescribed. The state and defense experts agreed Belniak was not under the influence of cocaine at the time of the accident.
He had been free on bail since the day of his arrest until his guilty plea Tuesday.