Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

11 Years in Fatal Wreck Case; the Driver Killed a 19-Year-Old JU Student, Whose Mother Said Drayton Drake's Sentence Isn't Long Enough

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

11 Years in Fatal Wreck Case; the Driver Killed a 19-Year-Old JU Student, Whose Mother Said Drayton Drake's Sentence Isn't Long Enough

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL PINKHAM

A driver whose race down University Boulevard killed a popular Jacksonville University freshman was sentenced to 11 years in prison Friday after nearly two hours of emotional testimony.

Drayton Lee Drake, 32, dabbed his eyes several times as Daisy Cuilty-Beltran's family and the university's dean described her life and tragic death.

"I don't see you as an evil person," Circuit Judge Jack Schemer told Drake. "I see you as a person that did something wrong that had tragic consequences."

Drake had faced a maximum 20-year sentence after pleading guilty to vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident. Schemer said he will be on probation for four years after he completes his sentence and will be responsible for paying $6,000 restitution for funeral expenses to Cuilty-Beltran's mother at the rate of $150 a month.

Her mother said the sentence wasn't long enough.

"Nothing's going to bring Daisy back, but let's send the right message. This time it was my daughter; next time it will be somebody else's," Leticia Beltran said.

Tests showed Drake was driving 81 mph on University Boulevard North when his Chevrolet pickup truck slammed into the back of a Ford Escort carrying Cuilty-Beltran, 19, and two friends in November 2005. Witnesses said Drake was racing and after the crash, cursed and threw beer bottles from his truck, grabbed a six-pack and walked away. He later turned himself in to police.

Drake testified Friday he was chasing another driver who had hit his vehicle and denied throwing bottles from the truck or taking the six-pack. But he also said he was so dazed he didn't realize he'd been in a wreck until the next day. He said he wasn't drinking.

"It's almost like a dream. I can't believe it happened," he said. "I couldn't live with myself on the run knowing that someone had lost their life in this accident."

Assistant State Attorney Mark Borello said the crash was no accident and accused Drake of lying to the judge. …

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