Women: Brother deserves stiff penalty for Fayette crash that killed sister
By Liz Zemba
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Tammy Hager told a Fayette County judge on Tuesday she has no sympathy for her brother, who is accused of vehicular homicide in the death of one of their sisters.
“Do I feel sorry for James?” Hager said during a hearing before Judge Steve Leskinen for James Allen Farrier. “No, I don't.”
Farrier, 53, of Masontown, is charged with homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence, driving on a suspended license and other offenses related to the Jan. 13, 2012, death of Crystal D. Farrier.
He was to be sentenced on Thursday to one year and three days in prison under the terms of a plea bargain, but Farrier withdrew his guilty pleas when Leskinen refused to impose the sentence.
“I don't think it adequately addresses the harm that was done,” Leskinen said of the negotiated sentence.
Crystal Farrier was a rear-seat passenger in an eastbound car driven by her brother on Nov. 2, 2011, when it traveled off New Salem Road and hit a mailbox, police said. The car 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 of complications from the crash, according to the Fayette County Coroner's Office.
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 Leskinen earlier this month that he was taking a prescription narcotic at the time of the accident and blacked out just before the crash. He said he had no idea what caused the accident, suggesting he may have suffered a seizure.
Hager, of New Salem described her brother as a lifelong drug addict who has shown no remorse for the death of Crystal Farrier, who had a son.
“What hurts us the most is the little boy left behind,” Hager said of her 10-year-old nephew, Justin. “He has no mother.”
Hager and two of her sisters, Debbie Rura and Charlotte Silvis, both of Ronco, said they feel the proposed one-year sentence is too lenient. But they said they do not look forward to attending more hearings or a trial.
Rura said she and her mother are caring for Justin, who was 8 when his mother died and often questions why she died. “He misses his mom,” Rura said. “He loves her.”
The three sisters said their brother has used various drugs since he was a teenager. He has entered rehabilitation programs in the past but failed to finish any of them, they said.
Although Farrier told Leskinen he was sorry, the three sisters said they don't believe he is sincere.
“The only reason he stepped up and said anything is because I spoke,” Hager said. “He doesn't have remorse for anybody.”
Leskinen said had police charged James Farrier with homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, he could have imposed a mandatory sentence of at least three years.
District Attorney Jack Heneks Jr. would not speak to a reporter directly regarding the manner in which the charges were filed. His public relations director, Ryan Clark, said, “That's how the trooper filed the charges.”
The trooper could not be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday.
The rejected plea marks the second time a judge has refused to sentence Farrier under a plea bargain.
In February, President Judge John F. Wagner Jr. refused to sentence Farrier to a negotiated sentence of 8½ months in jail under another plea bargain.
Leskinen ordered Farrier's case placed back on the trial list. Leskinen said Farrier can attempt to negotiate another plea deal. Farrier is in the Fayette County Prison on a revoked bond for failure to comply with terms of pretrial services through the Adult Probation Office.
Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reachedat 412-601-2166 email@example.com.
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