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DuBois driver sentenced in DUI death

| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

KITTANNING — A 44-year-old DuBois man, who pleaded guilty in October to driving while intoxicated and causing the death of his passenger in a Mahoning Township crash, is headed to a state prison for a minimum of three years.

Richard Louis Sickeri, 44, of 398 Sabula Outing Club Road, was sentenced on Tuesday by Armstrong County President Judge Kenneth Valasek on a charge of homicide by vehicle and driving under the influence.

Sickeri was arrested on those charges after he crashed his vehicle along Route 66/28, south of Distant, on Sept. 3, 2011, in an accident which killed Nicole L. Duttry, 35, of Sabula, Clearfield County.

According to court documents, Sickeri's blood-alcohol content fell within the .10 and .16 percent range. The legal limit is .08 percent.

Attorney Blair H. Hindman, who represented Sickeri, said that the three-to-six year sentence recommended by the Commonwealth satisfies the crime but is excessive since his client is in his 40s and was never in the court system for any other incidents.

“It was a terrible accident,” said Hindman.

“It was a tragic mistake that night.”

Sickeri stood up and apologized to Duttry's parents and son.

“If I could switch places with Nicki, I would,” he said.

Valasek said anything less than the recommended sentence “would make a mockery of the criminal justice system.”

“A lot of people were harmed that night,” said Valasek.

Sickeri was ordered to serve 36-72 months, must pay $1,150 in fines and costs, $11,789 in restitution to the Duttry family for funeral expenses, must complete a highway safety course, a drug and alcohol evaluation, a victim impact program and perform 100 hours of community service.

He was credited with one day served.

Family members of the victim and defendant left the courtroom as Sickeri was led away.

Valasek offered a cautionary warning to the remaining defendants who were waiting to be sentenced.

“For those here for sentencing for DUI, that could happen to you,” he said.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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