Woman given 5 days in jail in auto death 21-year-old guilty in December accident that killed 9-year-old

Decision called 'fair'

One-year sentence would have allowed early parole, judge says

November 28, 1996|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

A Westminster woman who was found guilty in an accident in which her car struck and killed a 9-year-old girl in December was sentenced yesterday to five days in jail.

Lisa Ann McLain, 21, who was convicted in September of homicide by motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and other charges, could have received up to one year in jail. But Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. said such a sentence likely would have meant her being paroled in about 6 1/2 months.

Burns said the court could maintain firmer control over McLain, a Frostburg State University senior, by imposing five years of supervised probation, six months of community service and other conditions. The judge also imposed fines of $2,000.

McLain, whose college education is on hold at least until June because of the court-imposed community service, sobbed as she spoke in the packed courtroom yesterday.

Her words were mostly inaudible but she repeatedly apologized to the family of Ashley E. Frazier, a fourth-grader at Spring Garden Elementary School, who was struck near her home on Coon Club Road on Dec. 22. McLain said she has wanted to tell the family how sorry she was, but she had been advised by her lawyers not to contact them.

After McLain is released from Carroll County Detention Center on Sunday, she must report the next morning to Human Services Programs of Carroll County Inc. in Westminster, where she will begin six months of community service. She will work 40-hour weeks without pay until June 1.

During yesterday's sentencing, Burns said he was particularly troubled that McLain was cited in Frostburg for underage drinking about two months after the fatal accident.

He has ordered McLain not to consume alcohol during the five-year probation; to become involved with an alcohol education program; to be involved for two years with Mothers Against Drunk Driving; and to speak to Carroll County students.

Shirley Hampt, president of the Carroll County chapter of MADD, called Burn's sentence "just and fair."

"In this way, Lisa McLain will be held accountable for her actions for five years, and the judge warned her that if she does not live up to his conditions of probation, he will not hesitate to impose the remainder of the one-year jail sentence.

Speaking on behalf of Randy and Brenda Frazier, Ashley's parents, Hampt said the Fraziers were satisfied with Burn's decision after hearing his explanation.

In September, Burns found McLain not guilty of auto manslaughter, a felony offense. The judge found her guilty, however, on the charges of homicide by motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, negligent driving and failing to reduce speed on a narrow and winding roadway.

The five-day trial hinged on whether McLain was a naive social drinker, as her attorney, Edward M. Ulsch, contended.

Prosecutor David Daggett rejected Ulsch's theory, and the hTC defendant admitted she had been drunk before.

Dr. Barry S. Levine, the state's chief toxicologist, concluded that McLain had seven or eight beers -- not four as she testified -- the night before the accident.

Levine concluded that McLain's Breathalyzer result, 0.027 percent at 11: 07 a.m., would have been 0.08 at the time of the accident, nearly three hours before the test was administered.

Under state law, a motorist with a blood-alcohol level of 0.07 percent is considered under the influence.

Pub Date: 11/28/96

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