(PALM BEACH, Fla.) — Polo tycoon John Goodman was sentenced to 16 years in prison and a fine of $10,000 by a Florida judge Friday for the drunk driving death of 23-year-old Scott Wilson.
Goodman’s Bentley slammed into Wilson’s Hyundai and sent it into a nearby canal in Wellington, Fla., in February 2010. Wilson, an engineering graduate, was strapped into the driver’s seat and drowned.
Goodman, 48, also made headlines by adopting his girlfriend in an attempt to preserve part of his fortune for her while negotiating a civil suit settlement.
A Florida jury found Goodman guilty of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide in March.
Goodman, the multi-millionaire founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach, claimed in court that his $200,000 car malfunctioned and lurched forward. He has also denied being drunk at the time of the crash that killed Wilson, although other testimony has contradicted him and his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit three hours after the crash. Goodman also left the scene of the accident without calling 911.
On Thursday, State Attorney Ellen Roberts filed the state’s sentencing memorandum, asking that Goodman be sentenced to 20 years in prison. The maximum sentence was 30 years.
“What Goodman allegedly did for polo, maybe Scott Wilson would have done for science. The world will never know because of Goodman’s sense of self preservation,” Roberts wrote. “Scott’s family will never know the answer to the rhetorical question … what if Goodman had tried to save Scott?”
“[Goodman] called someone to help him out of this mess,” she wrote, referring to the phone calls Goodman made after the accident, instead of calling 911. “He gave absolutley no thought to Scott Wilson who ever so slowly was being deprived of oxygen trapped upside down in his car in that dirty canal. He took his last breath trapped in his car which was rammed into the canal by Goodman.”
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