Taneytown man pleads guilty to manslaughter in car crash

January 07, 2004|By Athima Chansanchai | Athima Chansanchai,SUN STAFF

Six months after a car accident claimed the life of an 18-year-old Keymar woman, the man who admitted being intoxicated while driving her car pleaded guilty to automobile manslaughter yesterday.

Jason William Strine, 20, of Taneytown choked back tears as he delivered an emotional apology to members of Megan Alexis Weller's family, who sat in the front row of a Carroll County courtroom.

"I'm so sorry," Strine said as he turned to Steve and Pennie Weller, Megan's parents. "I wish I could take back that night. The pain I've suffered is not nearly as great as the Wellers', but it's been a really rough time. ... I beat myself up every night and day about this. It's always right there in front of me. I have nightmares about it."

In July, Strine was speeding when he lost control of Weller's car and it flipped over, police said.

The impact threw Weller from the passenger seat. Police said Strine had been drinking at a party that evening.

Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. gave Strine a 10-year sentence for automobile manslaughter, a felony, and suspended all but 18 months. Strine will serve the time at the Carroll County Detention Center.

Burns imposed a concurrent 60-day sentence for driving while impaired by alcohol, a misdemeanor, and five years of supervised probation after Strine serves his time.

He also ordered Strine to make restitution of about $11,000 to the Wellers and to abstain from using alcohol during his probation.

Kathi Hill, Strine's attorney, said her client had never been in trouble before. A recent graduate of Francis Scott Key High School in Uniontown, Strine recently married and has a 2-year-old stepson.

Hill said that Strine has the support of his family in trying to move on with his life.

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