Ohio woman who caused fatal crash wants license back
Written by Associated Press   
Sunday, 21 July 2013 06:13

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — A judge is considering whether to restore the driving privileges of an Ohio woman convicted of vehicular homicide and drunken driving in a case wrought with emotion and legal uncertainty.

Molly Farmer, 29, of Akron, is seeking to have her driving privileges reinstated eight years after she caused a crash that killed 21-year-old Jackie Bryan, also of Akron.

As part of a plea deal, Farmer pleaded guilty in 2005 to vehicular manslaughter and drunken driving. In return, she avoided prison time and instead was sentenced to probation, 500 hours of community service and was given a lifetime suspension of her driver's license.

Bryan's family says her death has caused them unspeakable grief and suffering and that Farmer's fight to get her driver's license back is insulting.

More than 30 people on both sides of the issue packed a courtroom Thursday and gave emotional arguments before Summit County Common Pleas Judge Amy Corrigall Jones, who can issue a decision in the matter at any time.

Jones cautioned both sides ahead of her ruling.

"Please make no mistake that this court makes this decision full well knowing that there is no right decision, that there is nothing that can fix anything that has gone on from the date of the accident up to and through today," Jones said, according to the Akron Beacon Journal, (http://bit.ly/1535HiP).

Jones said that in her extensive review of the case, it struck her "how horribly remarkable, awful (and) tragic this accident was, and what the Bryan family has been through and what Ms. Farmer has been through."

From her review, Jones said she found Farmer to be "a model citizen in terms of what our corrective and rehabilitative system is designed to do," and nothing in the record indicated otherwise.

Attorneys for both sides agreed that, under the original sentencing guidelines, the trial judge did not have the authority to impose a mandatory lifetime suspension of Farmer's license.

Farmer did not speak during the hearing. Her lawyer, Carmen Roberto, said a fair suspension would be eight to 10 years.

Summit County Assistant Prosecutor Teri Burnside said that the 2005 plea deal was "a negotiated plea" agreed upon by all parties and that even if the sentencing judge had followed corrected guidelines, Farmer would have had to wait 15 years before getting her license again.

"What saddens me, not only as a prosecutor but as a person, is that when you make an agreement, you honor that agreement. Honor it. Don't put this family through this anymore," Burnside said.

Bryan's sister, Nora Bryan, told the judge that the case has taken "an enormous emotional toll on me and my family. This is truly not the position that I ever thought we would have to be in again."

Her voice trembling, she said she is haunted by memories of her father "crying so hard, that he would become physically ill."

She said Farmer's request to have her license restored was an insult to Bryan's whole family.

Speaking directly to Farmer, she said: "It feels like Jackie's nothing more than an afterthought to you."


Information from: Akron Beacon Journal, http://www.ohio.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


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