Archived Story

Driver in fatal crash gets 3 years in prison

Published 8:06am Thursday, January 24, 2013

BY TRACY AGNEW/SUFFOLK NEWS-HERALD

tracy.agnew@suffolknewsherald.com

 

SUFFOLK—Hollyann Heinrich’s father left the courthouse an angry man on Wednesday.

“It’s the worst sentence I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Steve Heinrich. “Three years and two months for killing someone. I think it’s deplorable.”

The sentence was handed down to William Byrum Davis, 28, of Carrsville who admitted he was drunk when he crashed his truck at 1:40 a.m. March 6, 2011, on Glen Haven Drive near Holland and killed Heinrich, 23, of Waverly.

Davis lost control of the 2005 Chevrolet pickup on a sharp curve. Heinrich was thrown. Passenger Dustin Bishop, 25, was seriously injured.

According to a search warrant, a beer bottle and liquor bottle were found in the wreckage. Several other beer bottles were strewn about the yard where the truck landed.

Davis was sentenced for aggravated involuntary manslaughter, maiming while driving drunk and first-offense drunken driving. He will have 10 years of probation after he is released.

Steve Heinrich called the sentence “sickening.”

“I’m not impressed with the court system here,” he said.

Heinrich also suggested Davis got a break because he works for the City of Suffolk.

According to city Chief of Staff Debbie George, Davis was a part-time employee of the Parks and Recreation Department since September 2012. He was fired Wednesday, she said.

 

 

  • alwayslearning

    My prayers go out to the Heinrich family and I am so sorry for your loss. Hopefully healing will begin to take place now that this has been settled. I know that the family is feeling such anger as they lost their daughter unexpectedly in an accident.
    My husband was killed in a car accident seven months ago, and unfortunately the driver of the other vehicle, who survived, was only charged with failure to maintain control of their vehicle. I don’t believe that there is truly justice when it comes to these matters; it is nothing more than legal loopholes, politics, and who you know.
    May God bless all of us!

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  • Makalani

    RE: “… explain what rules I broke.”
    Terms of use: “But if you … engage in ad hominem attacks on fellow [commentators] people mentioned in stories …”
    Ad hominem = “appealing to personal considerations (rather than to fact or reason)”

    Even you must admit — the moderators of this forum are pretty lax enforcing this rule because we see ad hominem attacks “on da reglar.”

    Reread your censored/removed comments. I did several times. Even you will admit that they are “waaaaay” over the top/in gross violation of the above rule.

    RE: “You cowards.”
    Oddly — the TN didn’t remove your “you cowards” remark! So you can’t accuse them of being willy-nilly/arbitrary with their censorship policies!

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  • kingradman

    Such a sad story, I pray for the familys

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  • bobs94

    Hey Tidewater News- Next time you censor/remove my comments at least have the courtesy to explain what rules I broke. You cowards.

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  • Makalani

    RE: “This story never should have had a comment section.”
    Wouldn’t that be a form of censorship — to deny readers an opportunity to comment on this story and not others?

    Would this story be the only instance of censorship or future stories would be subject to the same treatment?

    What family member gets to make the call to censor? What if some are opposed?

    Probably a fairer — simpler solution that wouldn’t infringe on anyone’s choices is for people who are offended/upset/dislike the comments to simply not login and read them! Or have someone else read them and relate the opinions offered.

    The 1st Amendment right to free speech is a precious right. It shouldn’t be tampered with willy-nilly!

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  • 2forme

    I think it is very disrespectful of the Tidewater News that a family member has asked several times for the comments to stop but you are still allowing comments to be posted!!! This story never should have had a comment section. People are hurt and the situation in itself does not to be fueled by a bunch of strangers with opinions!!

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  • Makalani

    @ gettback — RE: “I thought I was done commenting…”
    Evidently you didn’t: “Take a deep breath — exhale — relax!” You still seem overwrought — stressed!

    RE: “… hoping he comes out of this in a positive way is “rewarding” him???”
    NO! Not at all! I understand that we can love a person but hate their behaviors. You hate the fact that your irresponsible drunk friend killed Hollyann with his irresponsible drunken behavior. You loved and supported him before he killed her! You still love and support him! “Hate the behaviors — love the person!” I get that!

    I also understand your intention to love and support your convicted drunk friend during his incarceration. Your hope is that he undergoes “a jailhouse conversion” relative to his irresponsible — drunken behaviors and “comes out of this in a positive way.” “Hate the behaviors — love the person!” I get that!

    I keep agreeing with you — yet you feel the need to correct my “ignorance!”
    What does that make you/your statements?

    PS: It’s too bad Mr. Heinrich’s daughter had to die before your convicted drunk friend would perhaps see the need to live his life in a more positive way!

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  • Makalani

    Agreeing with you is not analogous to trying to “sway” your opinion!
    Nice chatting with you! Ciao!

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    • gettback

      “Rewarding his behavior”…… Really? So hoping he he comes out of this in a positive way is “rewarding” him??? You are ridiculous. I thought I was done commenting, but I can’t seem to refrain from correcting your ignorance.

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  • Sissy

    @Bobs94-
    REALLY? This was the love of ours lives and you think I wouldn’t read the comments? You sir are a pompous as$. HAVE YOU EVER LOST YOUR CHILD? The only thing I respectfully requested was compassion. I have given my God given name, yet you hide – would you like to converse with me in person? Would you like to accompany me to the cemetery to visit our Baby? Sir, do NOT attack someone who has had as much pain as my family has had to endure. What a selfless person you are.

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    • Sissy

      And, the persons quoted in the article DO NOT represent our family.

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    • Sinoptik

      Don’t feed the troll Sissy, just let this one go.

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    • SandMan

      More unwanted, unsolicited advice from the almighty hater, Sinoptik. Try to ignore him!

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  • Makalani

    @ gettback– RE: “… makalani The more I sit here, the more your snarky little tone pisses me off.”

    Take a deep breath — exhale — relax!
    I paid you a compliment on your loyalty to this convicted drunk who killed a woman and this is the thanks I get?

    RE: “and yes I pretty much consider him to be part of my family), would you write him off?”

    Of curse not! I encouraged you to give him $$ — visit and reward his irresponsible drunken behavior for killing that woman!

    We are on the same page! “What ‘da’ problem is?”

    BTW — Mr. Heinrich is also loyal to the memory of his dead daughter!

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    • gettback

      You will not sway my opinion, therefore, I will agree to disagree. The end.

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  • Sissy

    Once again, I am PRAYING and asking that you keep us in mind when posting. We have lost the love of our lives Holly Heinrich. Please, please show some COMPASSION. Our lives are shattered – why in the world do you need to add to our misery? I once again pray you NEVER have to deal with ALL of the crap you all spew. Our precious Angel is gone, Dustin will never be the same. You have the nerve to post your petty opinions. Come with us to the cemetery and tell me how you feel then, come see how Dustin has to deal with everyday life…. My name is Cindi Dickerson and I have lost my baby…..have you?

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  • Sedleyman1

    I too know Billy, and i will also agree that he is a nice guy that would never intentionally hurt anyone. But as an adult we make decisions that we are responsible for. He made a very bad decision that unfortunately cost the life of a young woman and seriously injured another person. His actions were to blame for this, not Holly’s or the other boy! They did not get behind the wheel. Now Billy has three years to think about what he has done. He blew a .14! He knew what he was doing when he got behind that wheel. Just like the thug that walks into a gas station and robs the place at gun point, that person knew it was a crime. May Billy’s bad judgement be an example for everyone to see, maybe his story will save another life! Prayers lifted for both families!

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  • momto2Js

    I am sorry, but driving drunk is not an accident, it is a choice. Laying blame with the victims is a cop out, as is saying everybody has driven drunk. I have not as I do not drink. If sentences were harsher maybe we would not still be having so many DWI incidents. People need to stop being so selfish.

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    • gettback

      Nobody is “laying the blame” with the victims. We have simply stated that everyone involved made poor choices which led to a very unfortunate event.

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  • Bassin

    Many may think his sentence was to heavy.Many may not remember the night of the wreck on the Blackwater River bridge several years ago.He was not the only one crossing the bridge that night.The car looked just like a helicopter coming towards the oncoming traffic.His car stopped just short of mine.I’m the one who called the ambulance,I’m the one who covered him up laying beside the fence till they got there.I thought after that night he would have learned something.This is not my opinion,I was almost the victim the last time.

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    • SoCo Girl
    • BusyMomof2

      I have been reading through these post and remembering that same accident and thinking this is one of the reasons that 3 years is not enough. He continues to do the same stupid drunk driving.

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  • gettback

    @makalani The more I sit here, the more your snarky little tone pisses me off. I need not justify myself to you or anyone else. I will support Billy. I will be his friend. I will continue to try to help him move forward. Your opinion of me does not matter. I will do what I feel is right and you can do you.

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  • gettback

    @makalani I hardly think I am rewarding anything. If Billy were someone in your family (and yes I pretty much consider him to be part of my family), would you write him off? Would you leave him hanging over a night of bad decisions made on everyone’s behalf? I, for one, will not do that. I will stand behind him and do what I can to help him out so that he may come out of this a new man. If that makes me a bad person, then so be it.

    Once again I am deeply sorry for the families affected and do hope they find peace.

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  • The Situation

    TN should remove the whole article all the comments for that matter

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    • Sissy

      The comments made do not need to be removed. They are once again a SAD reminder. A SAD reminder of the lost life of my beautiful angel baby, Holly; a sad reminder of the life that Dustin could have led; a sad reminder of the life Billy could have led. Many lives have been affected, can you make the future better?

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  • Sissy
    • Sissy

      Did you even read what we as Holly’s family posted? Please, please put your anger to use in a manner that will honor your friend. Please do a kind deed, help someone.

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  • The Situation

    Keep your head up billy screw all the haters yea you made a bad choice but the others did as well your are not 100% to blame not at all half the people in this area have driven with a buzz drunk or whatever and everybody up here talking ish Lets talk about the others since nobody has the balls to stand up for billy who gets in the car with a drunk person what does that say about there judgement but its Billy’s fault naw I’d have to say not seems like they all made bad decisions and a girl lost her life very sad very sad but nothing is gna bring her back and I’m sorry for her family’s loss honestly but lets be grown here it was not all Billy’s fault and anyone who knows billy knows darn well he would never hurt anyone on purpose but for all u folks talking ish think hard about it be honest with yourself and if u have any brains at all u will see that everybody involved made mistakes that night and it all could of been avoided And people in Franklin running there mouths half of ya been to we be drinking and Fred’s and have left there with a buzz or drunk and have just been lucky this could of happened to alot of people just because the cops on Thursday nights around here look the other way just know karma is a b and this could happen to you and your luck will one day run out. Please don’t drink and drive nuff said

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    • simplifyingit

      You know, I have a pretty decent education and i got lost somewhere on line 2! This is total “ish”!!! Where did this child go to school and why can’t he/she be a little more intelligible? I have no idea what was said!!

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    • Sedleyman1
  • Makalani

    I ‘ain’t’ at you -… = I ‘ain’t mad at you -…

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  • Makalani

    @gettback –RE: “Those who are standing behind him now have been behind him the whole time.”

    I ‘ain’t’ at you — loyalty is a wonderful thing. I hope you will put $$ in this convicted drunk’s canteen acct. Visit him in the joint — feed him from those over-priced vending machines — laugh — joke and have a grand ‘ole’ time.

    Why shouldn’t he be rewarded for killing someone?

    It’s to bad Mr. Heinrich can’t visit and laugh with his daughter because of his irresponsible drunkeness!

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  • Sissy

    I AM THE REAL REPRESENTATIVE OF HOLLY’S FAMILY. I have read your posts for two years and they make me Sad. The pathetic statements in the paper, etc do NOT represent her REAL families feelings. We are So sad; so sad that people post things that hurt others. Sad that people don’t put themselves in the other persons place. Sad that people don’t trust in God. Sad that so many families hurt. I am glad that you don’t have to walk an inch in our shoes. I am sorry that we have to deal with all we have to deal with – your added drama is not helpful. You do not even know us – or our family. My family isn’t the one represented in the paper – that is a part of Hollys past. It does NOT represent our family, Holly’s real family. We are compassionate, loving and caring and if you know us you will know that is a fact. And I certainly hope you will never have to deal with what we have or with what his parents are dealing with. I will end this by saying – please use the time you post here in a helpful manner. Do what Holly would have done – volunteer, help an elderly neighbor, stop by a fast food place and get an extra burger and spend 10 minutes with them, change the filter in their furnace, make sure their vents are closed so their pipes don’t freeze, put your anger to use in a positive way. We can’t change what happened in the past but we can change what we do each day and make a positive impact NOW, if only we put our focus in the right direction.

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  • gettback

    @seymorebutts I did not mean to imply that judges don’t matter at all. I only meant that as it pertains to this case. The sentencing is done so yes, there is only one judge left that matters.

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  • grizzlybear5970

    I was in the courtroom and I listened to the judge describe his driving record. I believe it is 17 moving violations eight of them were for speeding. And the Judge mentioned another accident obviously this person has a major problem obeying any kind of laws. I guess in Virginia it doesn’t matter how many violations you get you can still drive and get insurance. How many more accidents once he is out will he create? Maybe you will be down the road when he is speeding and get hit…and we will see if you will like to call it an accident if he is intoxicated. This person left his two friends lying on the side of the road helplessly and had to be held down and restrained at the scene, then he informed the police that he did not know either party. Meanwhile Hollyann’s car was in his driveway ..that’s where it was when it was discovered by police. This person was going to leave two of his friends laying there one dying and the one seriously injured and do nothing to help. What makes this more ironic is that the city of Suffolk hired him for recreation and parks and allowed him to be around minors. He was only fired on the day of the sentencing not on the day he pled guilty. A good person would have never reacted at the scene like that. Thank god we had good Virginia neighbors who stayed with Holly & Dustin while they were seriously injured. In my twenty years of handling accidents i never heard a description by the neighbors so horrifying about his conduct at the scene. When most people are injured and helpless on the side of the road most people stop and help, this coward tried to run. I know this is the truth because I did the interviews at the scene. The sentence does not fit the crime. Virginia judges and their so called sovereignty need much help and change. More people will die at this location and for a fact the only person we know the alcohol content of is Billy and it was .14. Those are the facts. I thank the newspaper for helping in the investigation and in my twenty years of being in courts as a police officer myself that was the worst judge I have ever seen. He conflicted himself after stating 17 moving violations and one other severe crash and then suspended 70% of the ten years for Holly, 100% of the sentence for maiming Dustin and 10 months out of the 12 months for the DWI. I’m sure if it was one of his family members It would have been alot different sentence. That judge should retire and resign because I think Billy is going to come back and haunt him. That kind of person does not change.

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    • gettback

      You, sir, do not know that he will not learn and grow from his past and the only judge that matters is the good lord.

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      • seymorebutts

        @ getback: We can time after time do bad things including bad things that result in a young woman losing her life and only fear an Imaginary judge? That isn’t going to cut it. Not everyone is religious. Even some who claim to be only claim it due to social out-casting. Real judges when using good judgement DO matter.

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      • SoCo Girl

        He really learned,that why I have seen him out in public after the accident drinking, and still getting in a vehicle driving away.

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      • gettback

        @SoCo Girl…. What I said was in reference to his impending prison sentence. You cannot predict what the outcome will be. I have faith. Understand now? Or am I not making myself clear enough? As for him drinking and driving… I will ask you the same question I asked sinpotik that was never answered. If you have “seen this for yourself”, why did you not do something to stop it? If you really saw him driving after drinking and were so concerned, why not make a simple phone call to the police department?

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      • gettback

        Excuse me, it was DIESEL that I asked. Not sinoptik. My apologies.

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      • DIESEL

        @gettback…He has been observed driving after drinking on many occasions by myself and multiple other people. If you attended WBJ or Freds on thursdays this summer you would have seen the same thing. I am not a cop nor am I everyones daddy. Maybe if people didnt constantly defend him and baby him he would have learned his lesson after the first time he almost killed himself and others. Or maybe people that “cared” for him as you do could have talked to him and helped him change his ways. The problem with this society is that everyone wants to blame everyone else for THEIR problems.

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      • gettback

        You are completely missing the point. I am not saying he did or did not, but if you want to call it out, I want to know why you didn’t do anything to stop it. You don’t have to be a “friend” or “daddy” to make a simple call to the police if you are concerned with someone you suspect to be driving under the influence.

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  • gettback

    @sinoptik Fair enough, but like I said, a majority of the people who have nothing but negative things to say about him ARE those people. Nothing but hypocrites who think because their luck hasn’t run out yet it never will.

    @makalani Negative darling. Those who are standing behind him now have been behind him the whole time. I do feel sympathy for the families involved, but he was and still is a dear friend of mine and I know he is a good person. Mistakes are just that, mistakes.

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  • seymorebutts

    Of course our system of justice is highly flawed and unbalanced. Anyone can walk up to you at Walmart and punch you hard in the face with little consequences(misdemeanor) compared to a person stealing anything valued at more than $250 (felony). They will never hunt, vote or get into a decent career again. Which is more violent and which would you rather happen to you?

    In Virginia you could punch a police officer in the face and then go out and buy a rifle the same day you’re convicted.

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  • Makalani

    “Delay!” “Continuance!” “Delay some more!” A perfectly legal tactic used all the time in our court system!

    Two years is about enough time for sympathy for the victims to have subsided and swung toward the “poor drunk driver” who had a “momentary lapse in good judgement!”

    “A slap on the wrist” for killing someone! Mr. Heinrich’s anger is fully justified!

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  • DIESEL

    @ gettback. You are correct…three people. One is dead, one has been seriously injured, and now one is going to jail. All made a bad choice and now all have had to deal with the consequences. Here endeth the lesson.

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  • Sinoptik

    For all those pleading leniency for this “mistake” and “accident”, may you never have to change your mind as a result of a pathetic selfish drunkard taking someone close to you away because they lack self control and consideration of others.

    I just wish I could lend these criminals some of the self control I must display whenever I hear someone say they “just” got a DUI, no big deal, or hear their family talk about how good a person the murderous idiot is.

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    • gettback

      I don’t know who you are (and don’t care to), but a majority of the people who will condemn Billy, I can guarantee I have seen drive drunk before. Could you be one of them?

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      • Sinoptik

        Gettback: “Could you be one of them?”

        Not a chance, ever, impossible.

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    • DIESEL

      There are almost all positive posts bc the tidewater news has removed some of those of a negative nature. Maybe he has friends that work for the paper? 3 years is not enough time for killing someone…accidental or not. Especially when he is still out drinking and driving. That isnt an accusation, it is a fact. So if the tidewater news is against stating facts in this forum, then go ahead and delete this post again.

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      • gettback

        THREE people made an informed decision to get into a vehicle in which everyone was intoxicated. So tell me some more how it is ALL Billy’s fault? And how are you so informed on his drinking habits? Also, if your “fact” is indeed just that and you are so concerned, why wouldn’t you do your part to stop it from happening????

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  • mule

    When YOU chose to drink and drive or ride with a person that has been drinking you reap what you sow. Maybe the judge could have tied community service classes around the jail time……educating freshmen and sophomre drivers about D&D.

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  • manda0499

    I am so glad to see more positive posts up here than posts bashing Billy. This could happen to anyone, drunk or sober. I am by no means innocent with drinking and driving and I think a lot more have done it than who hasn’t so hopefully the people who read this article and want to be harsh with words will not be too quick to judge or bash anyone that was involved. Prayers go out to ALL families involved and hopefully hearts will soon heal and forgive.

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    • gettback
    • NASCAR13

      Agree with your statement. Another thing for people to think about is what if you were riding home late one night with someone because you were to drunk to drive and the driver fell asleep? Could have been the same result. Would they consider the driver a murderer in that instance? Alcohol can make people do things that are not of better judgement but ultimately it is up to God when it is your time to go. Everything happens for a reason. Unfortunately these circumstances led to Holly’s time to leave this earth. Just a thought.

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  • gettback

    First let me say that my deepest condolences go out to the Heinrich family. With that said, I have to wholeheartedly agree with NASCAR and Concerned. I have known Mr Davis for a while and he has a good heart and is a good friend. What happened was indeed an accident. It’s a tragedy that a life was lost and I pray that the family will find peace, but I do not think it is fair to condemn this man.

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    • NASCAR13

      I for one think there should be some punishment for this crime but I do not think 3 years in prison is fair. I by know means am saying he should get of scotch free, but there have been criminals convicted of intentional maming crimes that have gotten off a whole lot better off. BlondeStranger has a good point about texting and driving. What would the end result have been? 3 months prison or 3 years probation? Involuntary Manslaughter is just that INVOLUNTARY!

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  • BlondeStranger

    I’m sorry for all involved here, as there just are no good outcomes in situations like this. I know some folks will never believe that the sentence is just, and I certainly won’t try to convince them otherwise. But, the sad fact is that had this accident been caused by the driver texting, as opposed to him drinking, he probably would have gotten closer to 3 months than 3 years. Which crime is worse, or results in the worse consequences? Just food for thought.

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  • RACN35

    Key Word >>> ACCIDENT… Not some thug robbing & killing

    A drunk hit my GrandParents head on … CHRISTMAS DAY ..and never served a single day in jail

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    • Sinoptik

      There is no accident when a drunk gets in a car and turns the key, it is as ignorant and malicious a murder as a thug robbing and killing. We need harsher sentences for the attempted murdering drunks that were fortunate enough to go in a ditch or get caught swerving. It is despicable to write this off as an “accident”.

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  • Concerned13

    My heart goes out to all involved in this tragic ACCIDENT. A young women lost her life, another young man suffered injuries that im sure will haunt him forever, and the driver has to live with the guilt. However like NASCAR13 said this is tragic for all involved I as well know the defendant and he really is a good person, certainly no intensions to ever hurt someone on purpose. I pray that the family of the young women will be able to find some peace and will pray that their hearts heal. I also hope that as a community we pray for ALL families involved!

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  • NASCAR13

    My heartfelt condolences go out to the Heinrich Family as well as the Davis family. Everyone makes mistakes and sometimes it takes a hard lesson to learn from them. My concern is that there is going to be a lot of bashing because of this sentence and talk of murder etc etc, but the fact of the matter is this was an ACCIDENT. Poor judgement by all parties involved. Yes he was drinking, but I am sure the others were not sober. Were seatbelts worn? Could it have been prevented, I am sure it could have. I have known the defendant for 20+ years and he is a good hearted individual that like many of us has made mistakes in his life. His intent was never to hurt anyone, unfortunately a life was lost. Lets try not to be so judgemental as no one is perfect and we all make mistakes. Sometimes they are mistakes that we have to live with for the rest of our lives. I am by far against drinking and driving and I am not saying that any of this was ok, but I am just asking that you all have a heart because there are numerous families and friends hurting over this.

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  • cscj27980

    I cannot begin to imagine the anger and pain the two families are experiencing right now- especially the Heinrich family. I pray the defendent never drives under the influence again.

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  • SoCo Girl

    * seriously — let me correct myself.

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  • SoCo Girl

    What an absolute joke this sentence is! So you murder someone and serioudly injury a person you get three years in prison, sell some drugs and you get life. Sounds about right and fair. Surprised he even got what time he did though, a pop on the hand and will be right back at it when he gets out. Awesome courts we have!

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    • gettback

      An accident is not murder. Poor choices were made all around that night. You cannot label him a murderer.

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      • ladyg

        Agree with SoCo and getback, “drive drunk and kill someone”, not to mention bad driving record get 3 years in prison(slap on the wrist), however, sell drugs get almost life. These are both bad decisions but the sentencing given out by judges is disturbing at the least.

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