A 43-year-old Erie woman has pleaded guilty to charges in connection with a fatal motorcycle-car crash last May. She could be wind up receiving a minimum of three years or a maximum of 10 years behind bars as a result of her plea, but for at least some in the community, the minimum for this fatal
would be too lenient.
The elements of the case that appear to rub some the wrong way are that the defendant admits to having been drunk at the time of the crash. In addition, in exchange for her guilty plea to homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence and a separate DUI charge, nine other charges were dropped.
According to the details of the case, the accident happened May 17 on Wattsburg Road. The 43-year-old car driver struck a motorcycle being driven by a 53-year-old woman and the rider died in the wreck. The car's driver reportedly had a blood alcohol content level that was two times the 0.08 percent legal limit.
The driver appeared in court last week to enter her guilty plea. Members of the dead woman's family, friends and the broader local riding community were on hand, as well. The founder of the Injured Motorcycle Rider Foundation was among them and said that three years is just too light a sentence for driving drunk and killing someone and he hopes it will be tougher.
The reaction to this case from those in the gallery is not unusual. Penalties issued for DUI in criminal court can be severe. But in cases of apparent wrongful death, some may feel they are not enough. Civil action may be an option for surviving relatives of victims. That is something to discuss with an attorney.
Source: WICU-TV, "
Motorcycle Community Turns Out For Guilty Plea In Deadly DUI Crash
," Emily Matson, March 10, 2014