Sentence in auto fatality angers victim's kin

September 25, 1992|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff Writer

In a decision that angered and embittered the victim's family, the driver of a car that killed an 18-year-old high-school senior last fall in Mayo was sentenced yesterday to a year in prison.

Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. sentenced Alvin E. Coates, 32, of the 1200 block of Shesley Road, Mayo, to two years in jail, but suspended one year and allowed him to serve it at the county detention center under work release so that he can work each day.

Coates, a laborer at a Mayo boatyard, was also sentenced to five years probation, ordered to surrender his driver's license for three years and complete six hours per week of community service for the next 20 weeks.

Michele Lee Levelle, of the 5300 block of Sudley Road, Mayo, was killed in November when a car being driven by Coates crossed over the center line and hit Ms. Levelle's 1986 Chevrolet in the southbound lane of Muddy Creek Road. She was pronouned dead at the scene.

Coates, who police say had a blood alcohol content of .10 according to a Breathalyzer test taken by police at the scene, pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter Aug. 3.

Yesterday the victim's siblings said they felt that the driver did not get the lengthy sentence that the crime warranted.

"It's just a slap in the face, that's what it is," said Sandy Levelle, 28, a sister of the victim.

"He knew what he was doing when he got in that car drunk. It's no different than if I walked up and blew your head off with a gun," she said.

Mark Levelle, 31, a brother, said after the sentencing hearing that he is still unconvinced that Coates is remorseful about what happened.

"After the accident, he sat in that car till the police arrived and didn't do anything, didn't try to help, and yet they're going to tell me he's sorry, and that this is a just sentence. No it's not. I'm sorry, it's not," he said.

Rebecca Chase, a sister from Glen Burnie, found out her sister was dead when she drove past the accident shortly after it occurred and stopped to inquire.

The family members said they continue to mourn their sister.

"We'll never see her completely grown up, " said Sandy Levelle.

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