Ormond Beach, FL – Tammy “Sunny” Sytch, a former WWE wrestling star and Hall of Famer, was sentenced to over 17 years in prison on Monday for a drunk driving crash that killed 75-year-old Julian LaFrancis Lasseter. Sytch plead no contest to charges of DUI manslaughter, causing death while operating a vehicle with a suspended or revoked license, and seven counts of DUI causing damage to a person or property.
The fatal collision occurred in March 2022 in Ormond Beach, when Sytch drove her vehicle into the back of Lasseter’s parked car. At the time, her blood alcohol level was over four times the legal limit at 0.32 percent. An unsealed bottle of vodka was also found in her car.
A Troubled History Leads to Tragic Consequences
Sytch has a long history of drunk driving arrests and license suspensions in Pennsylvania, where she is originally from. Despite multiple prior offenses, Sytch continued to drive drunk, ultimately leading to the death of an innocent victim.
State Attorney R.J. Larizza condemned Sytch’s pattern of behavior, stating “The defendant’s history of drinking and driving is horrendous. It was only a matter of time before her drunk driving killed an innocent and unsuspecting individual.”
At the sentencing, Sytch expressed regret, but for many, the apology comes too late after years of recklessness behind the wheel. Lasseter’s family hopes the stiff penalty will stop others from making the same mistakes.
From WWE Stardom to Ruin
Sytch achieved fame in the 1990s as one of WWE’s most popular personalities during the company’s pivotal era. Dubbed the “original diva,” she parlayed her blonde bombshell looks into mega-stardom at a time when women’s wrestling was gaining mainstream attention.
In 2011, she was inducted into the prestigious WWE Hall of Fame, but her personal life soon spiraled out of control. Sytch developed major substance abuse issues involving alcohol and drugs that destroyed her career and finances. Her DUI troubles stemmed from her years battling addiction issues.
The sentencing represents a painful fall from grace for someone who once stood atop the world of professional wrestling because of unchecked personal demons.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving Urges Vigilance
In response to the high-profile conviction, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) pointed to the Sytch case as another preventable tragedy.
“No one should have to receive the devastating news that a loved one was killed by the 100 percent preventable act of drunk driving,” said MADD National President Alex Otte. “This heartbreaking case underscores the importance of our mission to end drunk driving in America once and for all.”
MADD urges the public to take a stand against driving impaired, either by alcohol or other substances. Otte encouraged people to take personal responsibility by planning ahead for a designated driver and speaking out to prevent friends or family members from driving drunk.
By remaining vigilant and taking proactive measures, Otte believes many senseless drunk driving fatalities can be prevented, unlike the needless tragedy caused by Sytch’s choices.