Sentence in fatal DUI crash rings hollow for family of Jeannette woman
Friends and family of a Jeannette woman killed two years ago in an alcohol-fueled car crash told a Westmoreland County judge they took no solace from the state prison sentence imposed on the driver.
Lauren Thompson, 30, was killed on June 23, 2011, when a Jeep driven by Lindsay Halliday, 32, of Mt. Pleasant veered off Route 819 in Hempfield at the intersection of Simpson Road, hit a fence, spun around, crashed into a fire hydrant and rolled over on its roof.
“Lauren was my only child. Her loss leaves a void of bottomless depth. There will be no closure. I have a deep, profound, hallowing emptiness,” Stuart Thompson said.
Halliday pleaded guilty in February to vehicular homicide while driving under the influence at the time of the crash.
Police said her blood alcohol level was 0.234 percent. A motorist is considered intoxicated at 0.08 percent in Pennsylvania.
Judge Debra Pezze sentenced Halliday on Thursday to a mandatory sentence of three to six years in prison.
“To say I'm sorry is not enough to show how I feel about this. There is nothing I can do to fix it,” Halliday said.
She told the judge she and Thompson were friends who recently reunited and were enjoying a night out. The two women were driving to see horses owned by Halliday, she told Pezze.
Police said immediately after the crash, Halliday claimed she swerved to avoid something that had run out on the road and she lost control of her Jeep when her attention was briefly diverted as she tried to change a compact disc, according to court records.
Defense attorney Pat Thomassey argued that Thompson and Halliday both made poor decisions that night. Thomassey said Thompson was drunk and was not wearing a seat belt.
“Because my client (Halliday) had a seat belt on, she was not hurt,” Thomassey said.
But Thompson's family and friends said they blame Halliday for their loss.
“She (Halliday) walked away without a scratch. None of us in our family will ever be the same,” said Thompson's mother, Karen Highlands. “I wanted to try to find a way to forgive (Halliday), but I am now torn. If Lindsay hadn't come into Lauren's life that night, we wouldn't have had to plan her funeral with finances we put aside for her wedding.”
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 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.
- Traveling amateur organists entertain fellow seniors with oldies music
- Westmoreland County municipalities push to clean up litter, dumps
- Route 217 bridge work about to start in Derry Borough
- ‘Doc Hope’ eases into retirement from West Newton veterinary clinic
- Hempfield man dies in single-vehicle accident
- Spirit Airlines lifts fortunes of Arnold Palmer Regional Airport
- Seton Hill student tells how Pa. Gov. Wolf’s tax plan will hurt her
- 2 Hempfield Area students charged with sexting
- Land costs for New Stanton turnpike interchange project reach $4.2M
- Murrysville woman apologizes for scholarship fund theft
- Request for documents delays Speedway hearing in Unity