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"Pulp Fiction" screenwriter jailed for fatal crash

 Screenwriter Roger Avary arrives for the Los Angeles premiere of his film
Screenwriter Roger Avary arrives for the Los Angeles premiere of his film 'The Rules of Attraction' in this October 3, 2002 file photo. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/Files
— image credit: Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscar-winning "Pulp Fiction" screenwriter Roger Avary was sentenced to a year in jail on Wednesday after killing a newlywed Italian passenger in a drunken driving crash in California last year.

Avary, 44, pleaded guilty in August to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and other charges stemming from the January 2008 collision that killed his Italian friend Andreas Zini and injured Avary's wife. The crash occurred in the city of Ojai, 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

"It has profoundly altered me to the very core of my being," a remorseful Avary said in the courtroom.

Ventura County Superior Court Judge Edward Brodie also sentenced Avary to five years of probation. During sentencing, it was disclosed that Avary had separately settled a civil suit filed by Zini's family for $4.1 million.

Avary was driving his wife, Gretchen, and Zini from a restaurant when he crashed his Mercedes into a telephone pole at more than 100 miles per hour, according to investigators.

Zini, 34, who was on his honeymoon, was killed. Gretchen Avary was seriously injured after being ejected from the vehicle. Zini's wife, Maria, was in a different car.

Avary co-wrote the screenplay for "Pulp Fiction" with the film's director, Quentin Tarantino. The movie won the screenplay Oscar at the Academy Awards in 1995.

The extent of Avary's contribution to "Pulp Fiction" has long been debated, and it tore apart the two former best friends. According to journalist Sharon Waxman's book "Rebels on the Backlot," Avary came up with some of the film's gruesome scenes, but Tarantino otherwise downplayed Avary's involvement.

While Tarantino went on to further fame and fortune, most recently with his Nazi revenge fantasy "Inglourious Basterds," Avary took on lower-profile work rewriting other people's scripts. His most recent produced project was the 2007 battlefield epic "Beowulf," for which he served as executive producer and co-wrote the script.

(Editing by Will Dunham)

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