A judge Wednesday spared from prison the 89-year-old Sugarloaf Key man who struck and killed former NFL player Christopher Dyko on U.S. 1 in 2014 and then drove away.
Domingo Javier Veloso, 89, wasn’t charged with striking the bicyclist but for leaving the scene of a fatal crash after his car entered the bike lane near mile marker 16 on Dec. 28, 2014.
“If he hadn’t have left the scene, there would have been no issues,” said Assistant State Attorney Christine Poist, who worked the case with prosecutor Jon Byrne.
Judge Wayne Miller no Wednesday sentenced Veloso to one year of house arrest followed by nine years of probation, a $5,000 fine plus the cost of the investigation by State Attorney Catherine Vogel’s office and the Florida Highway Patrol.
Veloso returned about 2.5 hours later with his wife, telling police he was the driver and that he had no idea he had struck a person.
Prosecutors didn’t ask for the 4-year mandatory prison sentence that goes with Veloso’s crime to but wanted some county jail time for the elderly man.
Miller handed Veloso a 364-day jail sentence but suspended it.
Veloso’s driver’s license, which was medically revoked by the state after the fatality, was also suspended for 10 years by the judge.
Dyko, 48, of Bremerton, Wash., who played with the Chicago Bears briefly in the 1980s after a standout career as an offensive tackle for Washington State University, was killed instantly, police said.
His family sent letters to the court but didn’t make the long trip to the Key West courthouse for Wednesday’s hearing.
Dyko was in the Keys to ride with a bicycle tour group and was headed back to meet up with some of them when he was struck, reports stated.
Veloso spoke at the hearing, repeating that he didn’t know he had struck a person but thought he had collided with a barricade or road sign, according to someone who attended the hearing.
In September, a jury convicted Veloso of the felony leaving the scene of a fatal crash after a two-day trial during which Veloso did not testify.
On Wednesday, two of Veloso’s three children testified on their father’s behalf, along with two nephews. The court received about 30 letters of support from family and friends.
Veloso also said he has deep remorse, was sorry for Dyko’s family and added he hopes Dyko is resting peacefully in heaven.
Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen