Judge nixes lighter sentence for Masontown man in crash death
A Fayette County judge rejected a Masontown man's plea offer in a homicide by vehicle case because the proposed sentence fell 15 days short of the standard minimum sentence.
James Farrier, 52, of 117 Shortcut Road, Masontown, is charged with homicide by vehicle in the Jan. 13, 2012, death of his sister, Crystal D. Farrier.
Crystal Farrier was a rear-seat passenger in a car driven by her brother on Nov. 2, 2011 when it traveled off New Salem Road, and hit a mailbox, state police said. The eastbound car then re-entered the road, crossed the center line and hit a westbound vehicle.
Crystal Farrier, 28, sustained a severe brain injury that left her in a coma, according to police. She died about two months later of complications from a motor vehicle accident, according to the Fayette County Coroner's Office.
Police said James Farrier and the driver of the other vehicle, Donna Wallace, 62, of Fairbank, sustained moderate injuries. Another passenger in Farrier's vehicle, Dawn Bryner, 35, of Smock, suffered minor injuries.
James Farrier was charged with homicide by vehicle when his toxicology tests indicated the presence of opiates and THC, a chemical in marijuana, in his blood.
Farrier told police he had taken a prescribed narcotic before driving and “blacked out” just before the crash, according to a police affidavit.
In exchange for a sentencing recommendation that called for a mitigated-range, minimum sentence of 81⁄2 months in jail, James Farrier pleaded guilty in December to homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence and related charges.
When he appeared before Judge John F. Wagner Jr. on Thursday for sentencing, Wagner rejected the plea because it was in the mitigated range, as opposed to the more-lengthy standard range.
“We know I'm not going to sentence in the mitigated range unless you have something astounding to say,” Wagner said.The standard sentencing range requires a minimum of nine months in jail, Eddy said. He did not negotiate the plea and was unable to say why the sentencing recommendation was in the mitigated range.
Wagner allowed James Farrier to withdraw his guilty pleas and ordered the case to trial.
Farrier is free on $5,000 unsecured bond.
Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Somerset Trust Train Station Complex in Connellsville to hold grand opening
- Fayette to open central district court
- Connellsville council told Highlands Hospital has prevention plan for Ebola
- Frazier’s $22M school construction project moving on schedule
- Statements to stand in Connellsville High School athlete’s slaying
- Burglars take $200 from Clark Elementary School
- Pa. candidates address equal rights, economic equity in Connellsville
- Sheetz to expand in Bullskin
- Halloween fun fills Connellsville community center
- New consignment store specializes in dance, formal wear
- Sewage plans for hotel, Sheetz OK’d by Connellsville council