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Ex-coach's brother to be deposed in DUI manslaughter case

SARASOTA — The brother of a former Braden River High School football coach charged with DUI manslaughter has been ordered by a judge to give a deposition today about who was driving the truck when it flipped and a passenger was killed.

Prosecutors say James Hunter initially said his 33-year-old brother Josh Hunter — who is scheduled for trial in two weeks — was driving the Ford Truck that overturned March 21, 2009, on an Interstate 75 on-ramp in south Sarasota.

But during a court hearing last week, James Hunter told Circuit Judge Donna Berlin that he would not testify that his brother was behind the wheel the night of the fatal crash.

So Berlin ordered James Hunter to meet with lawyers in the case for a video-taped deposition before the May 10 trial begins.

Assistant State Attorney Matt Sandburg, who is handling the case with Art Jackman, said the deposition will take place at 9 a.m. today at the state attorney’s office in Sarasota.

James Hunter, who prosecutors say is the only person who can testify that his brother was driving, could face jail time for contempt if he refuses to testify. The other passenger in the car, Matthew Braselton, told prosecutors he does not remember who was driving.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers say Doug Garrity, a football assistant coach, died after he was ejected from a back seat. James Hunter and Braselton were not injured.

James Hunter and Braselton wrote in statements to investigators that Josh Hunter was driving home to Bradenton and veered off the road to avoid striking a deer.

Troopers say Josh Hunter’s blood alcohol level was 0.21 after the crash — almost three times the legal limit of .08.

If convicted of DUI manslaughter, Josh Hunter faces a minimum of four to 15 years in prison. His attorney, Brett McIntosh, could not be reached for comment Monday.

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