Home News Port St. Lucie man to serve dozen years behind bars for causing 2019 fatal crash in Stuart

Port St. Lucie man to serve dozen years behind bars for causing 2019 fatal crash in Stuart

Port St. Lucie man to serve dozen years behind bars for causing 2019 fatal crash in Stuart

STUART — A Port St. Lucie man accused of being impaired while driving and causing a crash that killed an 88-year-old Stuart man on a three-wheeled motor scooter, will serve 12 years in prison, a judge ordered Monday.

Richard Boyd McGinnis II, 37, of the 2300 block of Southeast Grand Drive in Port St. Lucie, was arrested nearly a year after the Nov. 25, 2019 crash that killed Paul Ryan.

McGinnis was spanrrested Sept. 17, 2020 and later freed from the Martin County Jail after posting a $95,000 bond. 

Richard McGinnis

Monday’s sentencing followed a hearing Feb. 20 when McGinnis II pleaded no contest to DUI manslaughter as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.

Circuit Judge William Roby also ordered McGinnis to serve three years of probation, pay about $7,000 in restitution and permanently revoked his driver’s license.

In exchange, the state dropped charges of vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident with death.

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After court, Assistant State Attorney Marcus Johnson said McGinnis had faced a prison term of four years up to 15 years.

What happened

The fatal crash occurred just before 2:45 p.m. at Kanner Highway and Cove Road, east of Interstate 95, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

“For unknown reasons,” the front end of a Chrysler Pacifica driven by McGinnis II, then 34, struck the rear of Ryan’s three-wheeled Yamaha scooter as both drove east on Kanner, FHP troopers reported.

Paramedics took Ryan to Cleveland Clinic Martin South Hospital where he later died.

McGinnis II initially fled the scene but then stopped. Martin County sheriff’s deputies at the scene determined he was impaired when the crash happened, court records stated.

Johnson said a sample of McGinnis’ blood drawn after the crash tested positive for fentanyl, alprazolam and methadone.

“He was driving erratically at an excessive speed,” Johnson said of McGinnis. “He crashed into the rear of the victim … and he (Ryan) was thrown in front of the tricycle and then run over by the tricycle with so much force.”

McGinnis, who then drove a short distance away, “had all the indicators of controlled substance impairment,” Johnson said.

At a hospital, McGinnis wavered about giving his consent to provide a blood and urine sample, Johnson noted after court.

“At some point, he actually tried filling his urinalysis cup with water and then pouring it out. So that I think, weighed heavily in the judge’s decision,” Johnson said, citing from McGinnis’ medical records.

“The fact that he didn’t stop and render aid and he just kind of kept going from there … all those things went into (Roby’s) decision.”

Records show McGinnis was convicted of heroin possession and possession of drug paraphernalia charged in 2018 in St. Lucie County, which resulted in a county jail term.

Johnson said several of Ryan’s family members addressed Roby in court Monday, including one of his two sons, a niece and nephew.

After court, McGinnis’ defense lawyer Michael Kessler said despite questions about whether there was evidence that proved he was impaired at the time of the crash, he entered a plea deal to take responsibility for the fatal crash.

“Whether he was impaired or not, he drove recklessly and he caused this accident. And Mr. Ryan was not at fault,” Kessler said. “Richard was trying to get into the far right lane and he saw what he thought was a gap and he shot for it and he didn’t see the trike until he hit it.”

A tragedy like this is hard on everyone, Kessler said.

“It was important to Richard that he take responsibility. It was important to him that he faced the Ryan family and apologize,” Kessler said. “He made a horrible mistake and he’s going to pay for it for a while.”

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