Repeat DWI Offender Taken Back Into Custody After Hearing
Posted January 18, 1999
FAYETTEVILLE — Multiple DWI convictions could not keep a Cumberland County man off the roads. Now, Antonio Speranza stands accused of driving under the influence again, and this time someone was killed.
Despite the previous convictions, two recent DWI arrests and the second degree murder charge, Speranza was set free on a $58,000 bond Monday. District Attorney Ed Grannis pleaded with a judge Tuesday to raise the bond and keep Speranza off the road.
Speranza walked into the courtroom Tuesday morning with his family. He left the courtroom in handcuffs after his bond was raised from $58,000 to $500,000.
Police say Speranza was under the influence when he crashed his truck into a motorcycle in Spring Lake Sunday night killing 39-year-old Danny Deavers. Speranza's family and friends say it was an accident.
"He was not drunk," says Paul Vizachero, a friend of Speranza. "I know this individual personally, and he was not drunk at the time."
Speranza refused a Breathalyzer test after the crash, but the admitted drug addict told his attorney he is in daily drug rehab and has been clean for five months.
Police disagree with Speranza's story, and he was charged with second degree murder and his fifth DWI. Two of those DWI charges and two other cases of driving with a revoked license, are still pending.
At Phased Motorcycles, a wreath was hung in Deavers' memory. His friends there were saddened and outraged. They want to know why Speranza was able to drive with his long history of alcohol and drug abuse.
"This man has an arm-length full of charges for DWI, and he's let back out on the streets each time," says Theresa Dorn, a friend of Deavers.
Speranza remains jailed Tuesday night on the $500,000 bond. If he makes bond, the judge says Speranza must be placed under electronic house arrest and head to an in-patient treatment facility.