RI Criminal Defense and RI DUI Lawyer James E. Smith found this article in the Projo. It clearly identifies the fact that Rhode Island takes drunk driving offenses seriously. DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE! However, if you need advice from a successful RI DUI Lawyer, call as soon as possible 401-649-0335
Update: Reale sentenced to 8 years in fatal crash / photo
By Tracy Breton
SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — Laura A. Reale, the Westerly driver who failed to to stop at a red light, killing motorcyclist Colin B. Foote on Route 1 in Charlestown in May, was sentenced Friday to serve 8 years of a 10-year sentence in the Adult Correctional Institutions.
“I find that marijuana killed Colin Foote,” Superior Court Judge Edwin J. Gale said in imposing the sentence, which includes substance abuse and mental health counseling, 200 hours of community service and five years of a suspended license when she gets out.
He rebuffed pleas from members of Foote’s family and the Attorney General’s Office to impose the maximum 10-year prison sentence.
Many spectators wept during an extraordinary hearing that lasted more than two hours Friday morning. Foote’s family, his longtime girlfriend and his best friend from college, all spoke of the pain they had suffered since his death. His brother, Christopher, who is taking finals in medical school, submitted a letter describing the emotional havoc his brother’s death has caused.
They called Reale evil, remorseless, self-indulgent and irresponsible and chided her and her family for never once apologizing to them.
Reale told the court that she prays for Colin and his family every day “to tell him how sorry I am because of my senseless actions.”
She said she hoped the Foote family will at some point “find it in their heart to forgive me” and that God will someday give the family “the peace that they deserve.”
Gale said he was suspending two years of the sentence because he wanted to make sure that once Reale was released, she would have to report to a probation officer. If she violated any terms of her probation, he said, she would be sent back to prison to complete the full 10-year sentence.
When she gets out of prison, he said, her license will be suspended for five years.
Gale said he did not believe the crash that claimed Foote’s life was an accident. “It was a predictable loss of life by someone who describes herself as totally irresponsible” and who has been “almost totally self-indulgent, passing through life in a drug-induced fog.”
For over 10 years, the judge said, Reale has been “self-consumed, lazy, without ambition [or] purpose, [and] addicted” to marijuana.
In a lengthy discourse in which he railed against the evils of the drug, Gale said: “The defendant was high on marijuana at the time of that fatal crash. She had just had some hits and she planned to have some more.”
Reale, a drug addict who had accumulated more than 20 driving violations before striking Foote, pleaded guilty last month to driving to endanger, death resultin.
At her plea hearing, Gale told Reale that he intended to sentence her to “substantial” prison time for her offense, and that she could face up to 10 years in prison.