Harsh enough or too harsh?
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Thread: Harsh enough or too harsh?

  1. #1
    Posting Addict lil96's Avatar
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    Default Harsh enough or too harsh?

    What do you think?
    20 year old, drinking and driving, ran away from the accident while others were dead or dying, most likely Prom night.

    The entire article:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/...prss=rss_crime

    Driver who fled fatal Olney crash gets 20-year sentence

    By Mary Pat Flaherty, Published: January 6
    A young Rockville man who crashed his car and fled from the scene, leaving three of his friends dead or dying, was sentenced to 20 years in prison Thursday after an emotional hearing that revealed the deep rift the wreck has brought to a once close-knit community.

    Kevin Coffay, 20, told a packed courtroom that he was deeply sorry for the May 15 crash that killed Spencer Datt, 18; John Hoover, 20; and Haeley McGuire, 18. The group rode with Coffay between two late-night parties that included drinking and that were hosted by acquaintances whose parents were not home, authorities have said.

    Coffay, sobbing and rocking as he stood to hear his sentence, said he did not know there were people in the car when he walked away from the wreck. If he had, he said, he would have stayed.

    I never intended to leave my friends, Coffay said. He said that the night of the crash was such a blur and that when he came to on the grass, he felt overwhelming fear and terror.

    Throughout the three-hour hearing, a line of parents and siblings of the victims stepped up and through tears or with sharp anger, and sometimes with both shared intimate memories to underscore their losses: of a niece writing to the tooth fairy, a brother swapping music, a son strong and tall at his basketball games.

    The families, the states attorney and the judge said they wanted to send a message about underage drinking and driving that would go beyond the nearly 300 people seated and standing shoulder to shoulder inside the Montgomery County courtroom.

    A culture of recklessness must end, said Judge Theresa M. Adams as she prepared to deliver Coffays sentence. Adults not only tolerate but sometimes empower it, she said. And addressing all those young people in the courtroom: It must stop.

    Adams imposed a 40-year sentence and suspended all but 20 years. Coffays attorney had asked that his client receive no more than 18 months.

    Coffay, who was a student at James Madison University, pleaded guilty in November to three counts of vehicular manslaughter and one count of failing to remain at the scene of the crash on Olney-Laytonsville Road. He will be eligible for parole after five years, prosecutors said.

    The sentence will never bring back Johnny, Haeley or Spencer, said Hoovers mother, Carolyn Hoover. But the judge did what the prosecutors asked her to, and thats the best we could hope.

    The hearing drew together members of the usually tight Magruder High School community. Coffay, the three people killed and a survivor who said he watched as Coffay ran into woods after the crash without saying a word, all had attended the school.

    Inside the courtroom, the deep divide that pits neighbor against neighbor was evident both in statements from family members and comments whispered as relatives of both Coffay and the victims described the heartache the May crash caused.

    Listening was a cluster of girls in matching fluorescent-colored hoodies embroidered with happiness and adorned with buttons showing photos of Hoover and of McGuire. Across the aisle, a thin young man squeezed his girlfriends hand and unhappily muttered, Geez, they're sending [Coffay] away for nearly his life.
    Last edited by lil96; 01-08-2012 at 01:45 PM. Reason: deleted errors from copying/pasting

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    Posting Addict RebeccaA'07's Avatar
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    He was young, they were drinking - I can see why he ran as that's a scary situation to be in especially at his age BUT I don't think it was right by any means. His sentence was just, if not too lean. He killed three people being immature and drinking/driving. At some point, kids have to learn their consequences. If it means spending the next 20 years in prison, well a lesson should be learned.

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    I agree with the sentencing.

    It is sad. 20 years is a long, long time and that would be a very hard thing to face; however, he took the lives of 3 people. His statement that he didn't know other people were in the car underlines, imo, the completely irresponsibility of his actions. The problem started not as he was driving down the road, it started with the first drink he took that night and grew with every poor decision he (and they all) made along the way.

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    Posting Addict Starryblue702's Avatar
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    I'm torn on this one. I can understand wanting to send a message, but 20 years is a bit harsh. I've heard of plenty of straight murder convictions where someone shot someone else outright and their sentance wasn't as long as this. They were ALL drinking and chose to get into his car that night. Not that it makes it right, but they ALL should have been more responsible. And I understand that people are mad that he fled the scene, but even if he had stayed it wouldn't have made anyone's injuries any less severe. I think the pain that he's going through in light of his actions is punishment, and that on top of the personal hell that he'll have to live with for the rest of his life knowing that he's responsible for his friends losing their lives, he should have gotten a longer sentance. Again though, it isn't one of my family members that's gone. If it were one of my children who had lost their lives I'd probably be singing a different tune... but I would hope that my kids wouldn't be stupid enough to get drunk and then get into a car with another drunk idiot.
    Krystal & Donovan - 12/2/06
    Reagan - 10/2/02
    Maximus - 3/10/05
    Liberty - 12/11/08
    Trystan- 11/22/11
    My angel in Heaven 1/7/13

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    Posting Addict RebeccaA'07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starryblue702 View Post
    I'm torn on this one. I can understand wanting to send a message, but 20 years is a bit harsh. I've heard of plenty of straight murder convictions where someone shot someone else outright and their sentance wasn't as long as this. They were ALL drinking and chose to get into his car that night. Not that it makes it right, but they ALL should have been more responsible. And I understand that people are mad that he fled the scene, but even if he had stayed it wouldn't have made anyone's injuries any less severe. I think the pain that he's going through in light of his actions is punishment, and that on top of the personal hell that he'll have to live with for the rest of his life knowing that he's responsible for his friends losing their lives, he should have gotten a longer sentance. Again though, it isn't one of my family members that's gone. If it were one of my children who had lost their lives I'd probably be singing a different tune... but I would hope that my kids wouldn't be stupid enough to get drunk and then get into a car with another drunk idiot.
    At first I felt sorry for him, thought it might be harsh. But...he did kill three people. Regardless if the rest were also drinking, HE was the driver. HE decided to drive all of them. Those are all choices he could have made differently, but instead he made the choice that killed his friends. If I were a parent of one of the killed, I would be upset with my own child for being irrespondsible but in the reversed would totally expect a judge to throw the book at my own child.

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    Posting Addict Starryblue702's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RebeccaA'07 View Post
    At first I felt sorry for him, thought it might be harsh. But...he did kill three people. Regardless if the rest were also drinking, HE was the driver. HE decided to drive all of them. Those are all choices he could have made differently, but instead he made the choice that killed his friends. If I were a parent of one of the killed, I would be upset with my own child for being irrespondsible but in the reversed would totally expect a judge to throw the book at my own child.
    Agreed...
    Krystal & Donovan - 12/2/06
    Reagan - 10/2/02
    Maximus - 3/10/05
    Liberty - 12/11/08
    Trystan- 11/22/11
    My angel in Heaven 1/7/13

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