Judge Sentences Woman In Near-Fatal Drunk Driving Crash
She admits to driving drunk and nearly killing a motorcyclist. He survived, but lost his leg.
On Thursday, Jennifer Lee faced the man she maimed for life, and pleaded for his forgiveness.
It will be a year ago next month that William Stanley's life changed forever: the night his motorcycle collided with a car driven by Jennifer Lee.
Tests showed her blood alcohol level at more than twice the legal limit.
Stanley suffered a brain injury and more than a dozen surgeries before his right leg had to be amputated. On Thursday, for the first time, he came face-to-face with the woman responsible.
A pre-sentence investigation revealed Jennifer Lee has had contact with the courts 20 times, all involving alcohol. "The courts, in addition to punishment, also have to protect society,” said Keith McGrath of the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office. “And public safety is a great issue in this concern. She is continuing the behavior. It's not changing."
Lee trembled with emotion as she addressed the court. She requested permission to speak directly to Stanley.
"Mister Stanley, I really do apologize to you and your family,” she said. “And I pray you continue everyday getting stronger, getting better."
Stanley watched silently as she asked for his forgiveness. "I'm sorry,” she said before breaking into sobs.
Judge Richard Frye sentenced Lee to four out of a possible five years in prison.
Stanley said he's pleased with the sentence and called himself blessed to be alive, despite the challenges he still lives with. "It's terrible, but it's something I have to deal with. It's part of my life, but it's terrible."
"Her punishment is only a four year sentence,” said his fiancée Melea Stonework. “His punishment is the rest of his life."
Lee was immediately taken into custody.
After completing her sentence, she'll serve three years of probation. The judge also suspended her license for six years.