(Naples Daily News (FL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 21--A Collier judge Friday partially reinstated driving privileges of Riccardo Rivas II, who was 16 years old when he drove a pickup truck into a North Naples intersection at more than 70 mph, killing a Cape Coral mother.
Rivas, now 21, will be allowed to drive to and from work, counseling and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, Collier Circuit Judge James Shenko ruled during a three-minute hearing. Rivas was three years into a four-year driver's license revocation mandated as part of a plea agreement on a vehicular homicide charge.
Rivas served 10 months of a year-long jail sentence following his plea in the death of 32-year-old mother of two Tracy Cate. As part of his plea agreement, Rivas received four years of probation and was required to serve one day in jail on Cate's birthday and the date of the crash each of the four years. Rivas' probation was extended from four to six years after he was cited twice in Georgia, where he recently lived, for possessing alcohol while under the age of 21 in late 2012.
Rivas said he is in aftercare following his release from a treatment facility and halfway house. As part of his plea on the probation violations, Rivas was required to attend an alcohol abuse treatment program. He said he now works five days a week as a phone sales operator on Florida's east coast.
Assistant state attorney James Chandler said the request was "fair."
"I was going to object if it was for a blanket opportunity for him to drive on his own," Chandler said.
Rivas briefly answered questions from his lawyer Friday, saying the Delray Beach area has public transportation, but his workplace is "a little ways" from the nearest stop.
Terms of Rivas' sentence have been eased before. In January 2012, a Collier judge ruled Rivas could shed an GPS ankle monitor early so he could move to Georgia with his parents.
Donald Day, Rivas' lawyer, said his client has undergone intensive counseling and remains on probation, preparing him for returning to the road.
"There are still very stringent controls on him," Day said.
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