According to the State Attorney's Office:
Joseph Christopher Acoff was sentenced to 20.75 years in prison Friday for leaving the scene of a crash that left one man dead and two severely injured. Acoff, 38, of 300 Augusta Road, Apt. 319, was found guilty as charged May 14 of leaving the scene of a crash involving death, DUI manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and two counts of DUI with great bodily injury.
Assistant State Attorneys Bob Sombathy and Megan Teeple showed jurors during the two-day trial that Acoff was driving drunk the morning of July 22 eastbound on Back Beach Road when his Acura SUV rear-ended an Isuzu Rodeo with three men inside. The collision sent both cars into the median where the Rodeo went into a clockwise turn.
Just before reaching the westbound lane, the Isuzu began a series of flips that lasted 155 feet. Filip Drozd, 23, of Panama City Beach, was ejected from the vehicle and died a short time later. Pavel Drozd and Pavol Vydareny both survived the crash.
Acoff continued through the median into the westbound lane with severe damage to the front of his vehicle. He drove about a half-mile eastward in the westbound lane before pulling into the entrance of Nautilus Station and abandoning the vehicle. He walked to the Hampton Inn where he caught a cab.
Police found Acoff passed out in the stairwell outside his apartment. His blood alcohol level, even hours after the crash, was .17, twice the legal standard of intoxication of .08. Acoff confessed to police that he was the driver.
Circuit Judge Brantley Clark ordered Acoff to prison for 20.75 years, followed by nine years probation, for leaving the scene of the crash; 15 years in prison, to run concurrently, for DUI manslaughter; and five years each on the DUI with great bodily injury charges, both to run concurrently with the other sentences. Sombathy asked for a period of probation to allow Acoff to work off the large financial restitution that is owed to the victims' family.