Driver in deadly Cato DWI crash sentenced
Wed, 02 Mar 2011 11:32:23 GMT —
An Oswego County man has been sentenced to 6-18 years in prison in a deadly case of drunk driving.
80-year-old William LeVea of Fulton admitted earlier this year that he caused a November 20, 2009 crash that killed another driver on State Route 370 in the Cayuga County Town of Cato. In January 2011, LeVea entered a guilty plea to a charge of felony aggravated vehicular homicide.
Investigators say LeVea repeatedly rammed the rear of Camillus resident Christopher Spack's pickup truck with his car. The final hit sent Spack's vehicle out of control and into the opposite lane where it was hit by an oncoming pickup truck. Spack was ejected from his vehicle and killed.
LeVea says he can't remember the incident. His blood alcohol level two hours after the crash was 0.16%, twice the legal limit. Lenore dismissed LeVea TMs claim that he was suffering from Alzheimer TMs disease, stating that a psychiatrist had examined LeVea on two different occasions. LeVea maintains that the crash was an accident and not a deliberate act.
In Cayuga County Court Wednesday morning, LeVea officially received his sentence from Judge Thomas Leone. In addition to the vehicular homicide sentence, Levea will also serve two one-year concurrent sentences for driving while intoxicated and criminal possession of a weapon. The weapons charge stems from the fact that LeVea is an ex-convict but had hunting rifles in the back of his car. He will also have to pay a $750 fine.
The Associated Press reports that LeVea was previously imprisoned for beating a man to death in an Oswego County bar in 1967.
The Cayuga County District Attorney's Office said the pleas satisfy a 15 count indictment against LeVea, who also waived his right to appeal the conviction.
A motion by LeVea's attorney to have his client serve his sentence in a prison hospital ward was denied by Leone, who said that doctors will have to make that decision.
The 41-year-old Spack was a father, and his 16-year-old daughter Kaylee spoke in court Wednesday morning. She said William LeVea will never understand what he took away from me. He took away our daddy.
Spack TMs mother Lenore Ellis also spoke in court, saying she hoped LeVea spent the rest of his life behind bars.
Ellis also said she hopes that Spack TMs death will send a message to the community about the dangers of drinking and driving. Ellis ended her statement with a message to her son, saying I love you, Chris. You TMre forever in my heart. I miss you more than words can say.
When asked if he had anything to say, Levea said I TMm really sorry that man died. I did not deliberately drive my car into the back of his truck.
When issuing his sentence, Judge Leone told Levea that this was the first time in more then a year that he had heard LeVea say he was sorry. I have not seen any remorse from you at all, Lenore told LeVea.
Counting time already served, LeVea will be eligible for parole in five years. The Spack family says they intend to do everything in their power to ensure that LeVea spends the rest of his life behind bars.