A Tavernier man accused of driving drunk and hitting a motorcyclist with his speeding car in October, leaving the rider with critical injuries from which he still continues to recover, faces 16 years in state prison unless he accepts a plea deal.
Gregory Pope, 47, had a blood alcohol level of .330 — more than three times the legal limit — when he plowed his Volkswagen Passat into the back of a Harley-Davidson driven by Phil Weydener, 54, of Key Largo shortly before 11 a.m. Oct. 15, according to court records.
This was after he ran into the back of another vehicle as they both drove southbound at mile marker 102, causing a chain reaction involving two more cars, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The drivers of the other cars were not injured, according the FHP report.
He’s been held in county jail on no bond ever since.
Wydener, who was in the left turning lane of U.S. 1 waiting to make a U turn, was ejected from his motorcycle and landed on the windshield of Pope’s car before he hit the ground. Medics took him to Jackson South Medical Center in critical condition.
Pope, a Keys charter fishing boat captain who told Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia in a Feb. 7 letter that he has battled an alcohol problem for several years, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor DUI charge in October 2013. He told Garcia in the letter that he had not been drinking that day, “but the previous one was bad.”
On Tuesday, Pope complained to Garcia about what he said was a lack of communication from his attorney, assistant public defender Matthew Matteliano, over a plea agreement the attorney has been discussing with prosecutors.
Assistant State Attorney Like Bovill is offering five years in prison followed by five years of probation.
Pope faces a maximum of 16 years in prison if he goes to trial for one count of felony driving under the influence, causing bodily harm, felony reckless driving, causing serious bodily injury, and five misdemeanor DUI counts, Matteliano told him Tuesday.
Pope told Garcia he needed more time to discuss his options with Matteliano.