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Heatley Receives Probation for Deadly Accident

Saturday, February 5, 2005; Page D02

Graham Snyder lost his son when Atlanta Thrashers star Dany Heatley crashed a convertible while speeding on a winding road. The father asked an Atlanta judge yesterday not to compound that loss by putting Heatley in jail.

The judge honored the request, sentencing Heatley to three years' probation after he pleaded guilty to charges in the death of teammate Dan Snyder.

Dany Heatley of the Atlanta Thrashers pleaded guilty to four charges relating to a Sept. 29, 2003, car accident that killed teammate Dan Snyder. (John Bazemore -- AP)

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"Forgiveness in our hearts has helped us move on," Graham Snyder said. "We forgive because Dany has shown remorse to our family."

Judge Rowland Barnes acknowledged the father's support for Heatley, though he noted, "I don't know that I could do this if I were you."

Heatley also was ordered to give 150 public speeches about the dangers of speeding. In exchange for his plea, the only felony charge -- first-degree vehicular homicide -- was dropped along with a charge of reckless driving.

"The mistake I made that night was speeding," Heatley said at his sentencing. "This mistake will stay with me the rest of my life."

Heatley pleaded guilty to second-degree vehicular homicide, driving too fast for conditions, failure to maintain a lane and speeding for the Sept. 29, 2003, crash in Atlanta.

The MVP of the 2003 NHL All-Star Game, Heatley was driving his Ferrari on a curved road in a residential area when it ran into a brick pillar and iron fence. Authorities said Heatley had consumed some alcohol but was not intoxicated. Snyder, a passenger, died after several days in a coma. He was 25.

-- From News Services

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