The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on January 27, 2020, Circuit Judge Timothy Register sentenced John Roland Goedtke to life imprisonment, the maximum sentence. Previously, on January 23, Goedtke entered an open plea to the Court, with no agreement from the State, to three counts of DUI Manslaughter, one count of Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving Death, and one count of Driving While License Suspended or Revoked. The crash took the lives of linemen Ryan Barrett, George Cesil, and James “Bo” Ussery. On October 24, 2018, the men were working along Highway 77 to restore power after Hurricane Michael. Six family members from the Ussery family, the Barrett Family, and the Cesil family addressed the Court at today’s sentencing hearing.
Goedtke had a lengthy prior arrest history from South Florida. The case was investigated by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the Chipley Police Department, the Florida Highway Patrol, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It was prosecuted by State Attorney Glenn Hess and Assistant State Attorney Mark E. Graham.