Nearly four years later, DUI-homicide case slowly moves through the court

Michigan native and seasonal Middle Keys resident Richard Lee Hall could finally face DUI-manslaughter charges going on four years since he allegedly caused the death of 61-year-old Bernie Snyder in a drunk-driving accident.

"He's been spending [time in Marathon] getting ready for the case. The trial, if we don't resolve it in another way, [should be] in the next three to four months I would estimate," Hall's attorney, William Heffernan, said.

Hall, 68, was arrested on May 2, 2010, three months after he crashed a 2001 Chevy Corvette driven into a metal pole and fence along U.S. 1. Snyder was tossed from the car and died; he wasn't wearing a seatbelt.

An April 2010, an arrest warrant issued by acting Circuit Court Judge Ruth Becker said Hall had a blood alcohol content of .104 at 8:24 p.m. the night of the crash. The crash happened at 5:40 p.m. In Florida, .08 is considered legally drunk.

Hall and Snyder had reportedly gone to the Dion's On the Run convenience store near mile marker 47.5 for cigarettes and were headed south to their 11th Street homes. Hall apparently lost control of the sports car and drove off the road, striking a fence on the bayside of U.S. 1.

On Oct. 18 last year, Hall was arrested on two felony charges that he failed to appear for a court date. Heffernan said the arrest was caused by a misunderstanding with Hall's bonding agency.

"He did not fail to appear. The bonding agency out of Miami elected to not do business in the Florida Keys any longer," he said.

That meant Hall was, by law, "off bond" and had to surrender himself to Florida authorities. He was in Michigan at the time and drove to the Keys to turn himself in, Heffernan said.

Becker "graciously reevaluated the bond situation and Mr. Hall is currently out on bond again. He's been Johnny-on-the-spot when he's been asked to be in court," Heffernan said.

Hall's trial has been delayed for numerous reasons, including personal health and family issues Heffernan has experienced in recent years. Feb. 2 marks four years since the crash.

"Lots of issues out there," Heffernan said. "We are in negotiations to see if we can resolve this case."

Hall is tentatively scheduled for trial on April 14 at 9 a.m. at the Marathon courthouse near mile marker 48.5.