Karlie Tomica Pleads Guilty to DUI Manslaughter in Death of South Beach Chef

20-Year-Old charged in hit-and-run crash that killed chef made a plea deal Wednesday

Thursday, Aug 8, 2013  |  Updated 2:13 AM EDT
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The 20-Year-Old charged in the hit-and-run crash that killed a South Beach chef pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter Wednesday. NBC 6's Hank Tester has the story.

The 20-Year-Old charged in the hit-and-run crash that killed a South Beach chef pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter Wednesday. NBC 6's Hank Tester has the story.

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Witness Accounts, Photos Released in Fatal Miami Beach Hit-and-Run Case

Prosecutors released photos that show Collins Avenue after popular chef Stefano Riccioletti was struck and killed there on Jan. 28, and more than 100 pages of their investigation. Witness Julio Leyva told detectives that Karlie Tomica – who faces charges including DUI manslaughter in the case – was unsteady on her feet and "walking way too fast" when she arrived home.

Karlie Tomica, Alleged Driver in Fatal Miami Beach Hit-and-Run, Files Motion to Disqualify Judg

The motion, filed on behalf of Karlie Tomica, said remarks made by Miami-Dade Judge Migna Sanchez-Llorens during a hearing last month show the judge has reached a "pre-judgment of guilt" in the case, in which Tomica is charged with DUI manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident involving death, DUI property damage and resisting arrest without violence.
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The 20-year-old woman charged with DUI manslaughter in the death of a South Beach chef accepted a plea deal Wednesday afternoon.

Karlie Tomica pleaded guilty to hitting and killing Shore Club hotel chef Stefano Riccioletti, 49.

"I killed him that morning," Tomica said in court. "I had been drinking while I was at work. I got very drunk. I hit him with my car and I killed him."

According to police, Tomica’s blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit.

Tomica also faces charges of leaving the scene of an accident involving death, DUI property damage and resisting arrest without violence in connection with the Jan. 28 crash outside the Shelborne Hotel at 1801 Collins Avenue.

Hit-And-Run Defendant Wants Permission to Attend Church

After striking Riccioletti, Tomica drove off to her apartment on the 5600 block of Collins Avenue. She said in court that while she knew she had hit something, she didn't realize she had hit a person until a witness to the crash began following her.

"Driving away and leaving him to die was inexcusable, it was not how my parents raised me to be," Tomica said. "Reality did set in pretty quickly when another driver pulled alongside of me and tried to get me to pull over but I panicked and became terrified of what had just happened."

Tomica gave a tearful apology to Riccioletti's family during the proceedings.

"I'm sorry for all the pain and suffering I have caused," Tomica said. "I am praying for your forgiveness in hope that one day I will have it.

Tomica Ignored 911 Caller Who Tried to Stop Her: Prosecutors

Tomica, who has been under house arrest, was sentenced to four years in prison as a youthful offender with two years in home detention and 15 of probation. She will also have to speak to high school and college groups five times a year about her experience.

"She will have the opportunity to share her experience with other young people in the hope that they will not make the same tragic mistake," said defense lawyer Mark Shapiro in an email statement.

Riccioletti's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Tomica and the club where she worked, Nikki Beach Miami.

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