Hillsborough music teacher survives horrific crash, mourns girlfriend who died

Sean Hankins and his girlfriend Caroline Sine were in a crash.
Sean Hankins and his girlfriend Caroline Sine were in a crash.

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A music teacher who was critically injured in a car crash that killed his girlfriend is speaking about the horrific ordeal.

Sean Hankins is speaking for the first time, two months after the tragic crash that took the life of his girlfriend Caroline Sine, who was a music teacher in Pinellas County.

Hankins and Sine were driving home from the movies on August 14 when Pinellas Park police say Brice MacLeod was impaired and hit the couple in the 4000 block of Park Boulevard.

Both Hankins and Sine were rushed to the hospital. Sine died from her injuries.

Hankins suffered severe back and internal injuries. He says he is doing better than he thought he would be.  “It’s a process. I’m just doing the best I can just trying to take it one day at a time and still have a ways to go,” said Hankins.

He’s able to drive again, but hesitant.

“You never would think just driving from a movie that something would happen like this and now I’m just trying to get back on the road. I’m super — I don’t want to say paranoid– but it’s nerve wrecking,” said Hankins.

Hankins and his family want to thank the community for all their prayers and support. “The support of everyone. My family, friends and even people that I’ve never met,” he said.

Still in pain, Hankins and his family won’t let that stop them from advocating against drunk driving. “Just think about what you’re doing because not only are you taking a life and ruining the of the victim’s families, but you’re ruining your own life,” said Deidre Hankins, Sean’s mother.

In two weeks, Hankins will return to work in the Hillsborough County School District. Like Sine, he is also a music teacher. The inspiration that brought them together.

“A really sweet gentle soul. That’s the best way I can describe her and going back to work, I just hope I can be as near as good of a teacher as she was,” he said.

Hankins will participate in MADD’s Walk like MADD 5k dash on November 19. He and his parents have created a team to honor Caroline Sine, named Barracuda. It’s a song that Sine frequently sang with Hankins’ band, The Bipolar Band.

Hankins said in this day and age, there is no reason for anyone to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking because there’s so many options like Uber and Lyft.

Brice MacLeod is expected to have a pretrial hearing on October 24. He is charged with DUI Manslaughter.

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