A former Key West man who caused a triple-fatal drunk driving crash in 2015, killing his wife along with two others in the car he smashed into, was sentenced to 30 years in prison after admitting his guilt.
Daniel Sommerfeldt, 34, on Friday took a plea deal from the State Attorney’s Office rather than face a trial in which the evidence was piled up against him.
“A number of people put him behind the wheel and he admitted to driving,” said prosecutor Christine Poist.
Sommerfeldt’s blood-alcohol level was 0.24, three times the legal limit in Florida.
If convicted of all seven charges he pleaded guilty to, Sommerfeldt would have received 47 years.
Instead he agreed to the maximum of 15 years on two DUI manslaughter charges, for killing Brittany Nicole Lay, 19, and Donald Merle Pollitt, 52, in the head-on crash near mile marker 11 on Aug. 23, 2015.
Sommerfeldt’s 2009 F-150 pickup hit a guardrail while headed southound and then struck a Dodge Ram 1500 driven by Timothy Smith, then 18, and filled with four other passengers. Sommerfeldt had to be cut out of his seatbelt. His truck landed upside down atop a concrete barrier wall of the Shark Channel Bridge.
Smith uses a cane or wheelchair to get around and passengers Vernon Pollitt and Natacha Alvarado have had several surgeries due to the crash, according to court records.
“I’m f------ up,” Sommerfeldt told an officer after the crash, saying he had been drinking at a tiki bar on Sugarloaf Key.
Sommerfeldt, whose wife Catherine Sommerfeldt, 36, was killed in the crash, did not face a DUI manslaughter charge for her death. Her family requested it, said Poist.
Since making $320,000 bond, Sommerfeldt had been living in Green Lake, Wisconsin. On March 2, after pleading guilty to seven charges related to the fatal crash, he was taken to jail.
Judge Mark Jones presided over the case.
Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen