The collapse of the victim's sister during Jamie Clark's sentencing hearing served to confirm the horror he had caused, the judge said Friday.
Rosa Lovett asked that Mr. Clark's sentencing in Richmond County Superior Court proceed without her. She was taken by ambulance to University Hospital before the hearing concluded.
Mr. Clark, 20, pleaded guilty Friday to homicide by vehicle in the first degree, fleeing a police officer, driving under the influence, running a stop sign and driving on a restricted license.
On March 1, Mr. Clark fled a traffic stop on Broad Street. At Old Savannah Road and Gordon Highway he crashed his vehicle into the side of a vehicle turning left on a green arrow. Laura Felder, a 42-year-old mother of three and new grandmother, was killed.
The kindness and compassion of Ms. Felder's sister led Assistant District Attorney Johnny Markwalter to follow her wishes regarding sentencing recommendations, he said. Mr. Clark had been charged with murder, punishable by a mandatory life sentence.
Ms. Lovett said she would not ask for Mr. Clark's imprisonment for the rest of his life. He needed to be punished and to understand that he did wrong, but she believed it was an accident, she said.
"I know you didn't intend to do that," she said. "I'm angry with you, but I don't hate you."
"I'm really sorry," Mr. Clark said. "It was my mistake. I know sorry doesn't cut it. (But) I am sorry."
The plea agreement recommended to Judge Michael N. Annis was for a prison term between 10 and 15 years followed by probation.
Mr. Clark's attorney and family pleaded for mercy for the man who had never been in trouble before.
Judge Annis sentenced Mr. Clark to 12 years in prison followed by 11 years on probation.
While on probation, Mr. Clark must perform 1,040 hours of community service, 1,000 of those hours in educating others about the dangers of DUI, speeding and how it feels to lose a decade of your life because of a bad decision made in a split second.
Mr. Clark's passenger that night who admitted he encouraged Mr. Clark to flee the traffic stop, Michael Guido, was sentenced in November to three years in prison followed by 17 years on probation.
Ms. Lovett was being treated at University Hospital late Friday afternoon. She was listed in good condition, said spokesman Steve Crawford.
Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.