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Trinity mom, sons missing; father wanted in Pinellas

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Published:   |   Updated: January 28, 2014 at 03:17 PM

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CLEARWATER — The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday they are looking for a missing Trinity-area mother and her two sons, one day after the woman’s husband failed to show up in court in Pinellas County in a vehicular homicide case.

Also on Tuesday, a warrant was issued for the husband, Garrett Franklin Bruce, 33,

The New Port Richey man removed an ankle bracelet and failed to show up for a pre-trial conference on Monday, one week before he was to go on trial on charges of vehicular homicide and DUI manslaughter in a Dec. 11, 2011, wreck in Tarpon Springs.

If convicted of either charge, he faces a sentence of up to 15 years in prison, said Assistant State Attorney Greg Groger. Bruce was out on $100,000 bond.

Pasco County deputies say Jennifer Bruce, his 28-year-old wife, ended all contact with her family and close friends sometime between Jan. 10 and Jan. 12. She, her two sons — Dillon, 7, and Brett, 5 — along with Garrett Bruce, have not been seen since, although their only car remains at the home.

Pasco County deputies say Jennifer took her children out of Long Leaf Elementary School on Jan. 10. There are no signs of foul play, nor are there signs the family gathered their belongings for a planned relocation.

When Bruce failed to show up in court on Monday, his attorney, Rex Blake, said of his client, “I know he was very stressed.”

“Obviously, there are a lot of questions,” Blake said in court.

Circuit Judge R. Timothy Peters then decided to have a no-bond warrant issued for Bruce’s arrest.

The wreck occurred at 3:14 a.m. on Meres Boulevard in Tarpon Springs on Dec. 11, 2011, according to court documents.

At the time, Bruce, then a manager at a Papa John’s, was driving a 2011 Dodge Charger, with two pizzeria employees, Elliot Lewis and Patrick Vosbien were riding as passengers, the court records show. Earlier, the three had closed the eatery, where Vosbien had brought several cans of Bud Light beer, the documents say.

About a half mile west of the Meres Boulevard and Carolina Avenue intersection, Bruce approached a curve, lost control of the Charger and it began to fishtail, the documents say. The Charger then crashed into a concrete utility pole, causing it to collapse and downing several live electrical lines. The collision also caused an underground water pipe to rupture, with water bubbling to the surface of the ground.

Bruce and Lewis, his front passenger, were wearing seatbelts, documents say. Vosbein, who was riding as a passenger in the back seat, was not, and he was catapulted through the windshield, landing on the hood. The 26-year-old Tarpon Springs man died three days later at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Hudson.

Several Bud Light cans were found inside the Charger.

At first, Bruce declined to submit to a consensual blood draw, then he relented when he was told he would be made to give a sample, the documents say.

His alcohol-percent was .103, the documents say. A driver is presumed if his percent is .08 or above.

John Murdoch, a professional engineer and accident reconstructionist, estimated the Charger was travelling at more than 100 mph before the curve, and was going 70 mph when it hit the utility pole.

Deputies ask that anyone with information contact local law enforcement for a welfare check.

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