Drunk driver in fatality given 10 years

Rebecca Padowitz

Rebecca Padowitz

Published: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 03:31 PM.

The 24-year-old Carrabelle woman whose drunk driving led a crash two years ago that killed one of her passengers was sentenced last week to more than 10 years in state prison.

At an emotional hearing April 30 before Circuit Judge George Reynolds, Rebecca Ann Padowitz, 24, was given 125.4 months in state prison, with credit for 432 days spent in the county jail since the April 17, 2012 death, on her 22nd birthday, of Rona Lavon Hawkins, 28, of Sopchoppy in the fiery crash.

Padowitz also received three years’ probation, and was ordered to pay a $2,550 fine and $250 in attorney’s fees for the DUI- manslaughter count on which she was convicted March 13 by a jury of four men and two women.

Hawkins died at the scene of the one-car crash after his 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee, driven by Padowitz, spun out of control on U.S. 98 about 1.6 miles west of Lake Morality Road and about 0.8 miles east of the city of Carrabelle.

Hawkins, son of Sopchoppy mayor Colleen Skipper, was a star linebacker at Lincoln High School, from which he graduated in 2002.

Skipper did not attend the sentencing hearing, although a letter that she wrote was read aloud to the court by Hawkins’ sister.

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