Wrong-way drunk driver sentenced to prison for killing Tampa grandfather

Tampa grandfather Omar Mitchell never got to celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary because the 71-year-old was killed by Christopher Lynn, a drunk driver, three years ago. Lynn pleaded guilty to several charges that include DUI manslaughter and two counts of DUI involving serious bodily injury.

On March 3, 2019, prosecutors say Lynn was driving drunk after leaving a sporting event. He was on Highway 301, near Harney Road, when he crossed into Mitchell’s lane and hit him head-on.

Mitchell’s wife and grandchild were also in the car. They survived with severe injuries; however, Mitchell was left paralyzed from the neck down and died a short time later. 

Mitchell’s youngest daughter, Sarah Bates, remembers getting that life-changing call.

"That was just the beginning of my nightmare for me and my family," stated Bates. 

She recalled what her niece told her about the crash: "She told me that grandpa told her they were going to crash, ‘Duck!’ and then boom!" 

Bates told the court she recently had a baby that will never get to know her grandfather – their future memories stolen by Lynn. 

"In a few short years, this will all be over for you but not for me and my family," a heartbroken Bates said. "The nightmare still lives on."

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Lynn will now head to prison for nine years followed by five years of probation.  

Tampa judge Michael Williams left Lynn with an ugly truth. 

"Two families ruined over a sporting event, that’s on you. All right, you have to live with that...all for nothing. Take him away," ordered Williams.

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