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Fort Pierce man to be sentenced in 2018 crash that killed 5 people

Tanner Dashner sits in a St. Lucie County courtroom on June 27, 2022.jpg
Posted at 5:02 PM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-27 18:36:00-04

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. — A community is on edge Monday as they wait to learn the sentence for Tanner Dashner, the Fort Pierce man accused of killing five young people and injuring a teenager in 2018.

Monday morning the judge sided with the defense, dismissing five vehicular homicide counts on grounds of double jeopardy. However, the DUI manslaughter charges for the five young people who lost their lives in the fiery crash still stand.

Investigators said Dashner --- who was 21 at the time of the crash, was driving more than three times the speed limit at 97 miles per hour in a 30-mile-per-hour zone while drunk.

Bottles of Bacardi Superior rum and Crown Royal Regal Apple whiskey were found in his car.

That night, one teenager was rescued from the wreckage but five of the passengers were killed in the resulting fire.

Monday afternoon, a medical examiner described the trauma each victim endured.

"Soot found in his oral cavity, the trachea, the bronchia," said Sr. Patricia Aronica. "There was evidence that he was breathing at the time the first occurred. He also has thermal of head torso and extremities. His lungs were full of fluid and there was some enema of the brain."

The state wants Dashner to spend the rest of his life in prison. The defense attorney is arguing for a lesser sentence.