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Son of St. Lucie County chief deputy pleads guilty in crash that killed 32-year-old mother

Ryan Hester, 20, driving drunk, caused head-on wreck on Feb. 7, 2021
Ryan Hester in court with lawyer's hand on his back, April 28, 2022
Posted at 11:34 AM, Apr 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-02 16:33:20-04

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — The son of the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office chief deputy accepted a plea deal Thursday for his role in a deadly crash that killed a 32-year-old mother last year.

Ryan Hester, 20, changed his plea to guilty of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide and was sentenced to four years in prison since he is a youthful offender without a prior criminal history.

Hester will get credit for time served and, once released, will serve probation. In addition, his driver's license will be permanently revoked.

The state emphasized Thursday that Hester will live life as a felon, losing certain rights, like voting.

Authorities said Hester, then 19, drove drunk after consuming more than a dozen mimosas at On The Edge Bar & Grill in Fort Pierce on Feb. 7, 2021, which was Super Bowl Sunday.

Hester then caused a head-on crash on Indian River Drive that killed Claudia Trewyn Bradley. According to his arrest report, Hester was driving around 70 mph along the 35 mph road at the time of the crash and had a blood-alcohol content of at least .13.

scene of fatal crash on Indian River Drive on Super Bowl Sunday 2021
A 32-year-old woman was killed in this head-on crash on Indian River Drive on Feb. 7, 2021

Bradley's family spoke emotionally Thursday about the loss to their family. The young woman was adopted by them as a teen from Guatemala and was the first in her biological family to obtain a college degree.

The judge noted the "mercy" being offered to Hester by the Trewyns by agreeing with the plea deal.

Claudia Trewyn Bradley, 32, killed in Indian River Drive crash on Super Bowl Sunday 2021
Claudia Trewyn, 32, was killed in a head-on collision on Indian River Drive on Feb. 7, 2021.

Upon leaving the courtroom, the Trewyn family and Hester’s parents — including St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Brian Hester — spoke briefly to each other.

The Trewyns offered a message to the Hesters, saying, "This is why Jesus came into this world."

An attorney for Bradley's husband said they are looking into taking legal action against On The Edge Bar & Grill.