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Gainesville woman sentenced to 4 years in prison for DUI manslaughter

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Rajina Renee Hall, 39, was sentenced this week to four years in prison after pleading nolo contendere to a charge of DUI Negligent Manslaughter. The sentence is the mandatory minimum for the charge and will be followed by two years of community control and then four years of probation. She is also required to pay $16,000 restitution for the victim’s burial expenses and serve 100 hours of community service involving speaking to young people about what happened in this case. Her driver’s license is also suspended permanently.

The accident happened at about 3:20 a.m. on December 27, 2020, when Hall was driving on SE Williston Road while intoxicated (medical records showed a blood alcohol level of 0.2, well over the legal limit of 0.08). While driving northbound, the car left the roadway and knocked over a palm tree, then hit two more trees; the third tree pushed in the front passenger side of the vehicle, and the front passenger, Curtis Rowe III, was ejected from his seat. Hall, Rowe, and the two rear passengers were all transported to the hospital, where Rowe died.

The Event Data Recorder obtained from Hall’s car via search warrant indicated that the car was traveling at 81 mph before it left the road.

Following an investigation, a sworn complaint was filed on April 28, 2021, and prosecutors formally charged Hall with DUI Manslaughter on June 23, dropping a second original misdemeanor charge of DUI with damage to property. A warrant for Hall’s arrest was issued on July 9, and she was arrested on July 13 and released the next day on $100,000 bond. She originally pleaded not guilty, and a trial was scheduled for March 14, 2022, but she entered into a plea agreement on February 9. The maximum penalty for the charge is 15 years and a $10,000 fine; her plea agreement reduced that to the final sentence of four years in prison.