Man admits guilt in DUI accident

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As Robin Berry's family members poured out their sorrow over her senseless death, the man who killed her, a repeat drunken driver, wept Wednesday.

Jose Fuentes-Sanchez, 29, pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to homicide by vehicle in the first degree, driving under the influence, and driving after being declared a habitual violator. The judge accepted the plea negotiation for a 16-year prison sentence.

Mrs. Berry, 45, had driven to Augusta in the early morning hours of June 9 from her home in Cochran, Ga. She was meeting the ambulance transporting her daughter-in-law and sick granddaughter to the Medical College of Georgia Children's Medical Center.

She made a wrong turn into Regency Mall but realized the mistake and backtracked. Mrs. Berry was sitting at the light at Richmond Hill and Deans Bridge roads when Mr. Fuentes-Sanchez slammed his vehicle into her driver's side door. His blood alcohol level was 0.202.

He had three prior DUI convictions, District Attorney Danny Craig said.

"My name is Jose Fuentes-Sanchez, and I'm an alcoholic," he began when given a chance to speak.

"I am so sorry," he repeated over and over, a lament echoed by his wife and mother.

Mr. Fuentes-Sanchez was a good worker, husband and father, his attorney said. His wife just had a baby.

Mrs. Berry was a joy to her family, the one everyone depended on, the one with the smile and encouragement. She died doing what she always seemed to be doing, helping others, her brother said.

It was safe to say that everyone in the courtroom was angry at him, Vivian Fuentes-Sanchez said of her husband. Both families are being punished for his mistake, she said.

Kate Mason, of the public defender's office, told Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet that Mr. Fuentes-Sanchez knew he would be going to prison and might be deported when released, but he wanted to plead guilty and spare Mrs. Berry's family and his family from a trial.

"I wish I could take it back. I wish I could take it all back," Mr. Fuentes-Sanchez said.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

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tombee
35
Points
tombee 12/20/07 - 09:06 am
0
0
All of these drunks are out

All of these drunks are out there on the road. They do the same thing this guy did, but most of them just run into the ditch. And what happens to them? Hardly anything. They get their licenses back and when they finally kill somebody, somthing is finally done.

aprilshowers
0
Points
aprilshowers 12/20/07 - 09:12 am
0
0
So sad ...:( prayers to all

So sad ...:( prayers to all

deekster
24
Points
deekster 12/20/07 - 09:19 am
0
0
Strong drink is a mocker and

Strong drink is a mocker and wine is raging and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. We sell it right next to the gas pump. Why in heavens name did we ever allow alcohol to be sold at gas stations? Would people who drink not have continued to go to liquor stores? A society feeding on itself. A senseless loss of a precious life. Two families scared forever. Was it worth getting drunk?

SunDown
2
Points
SunDown 12/20/07 - 09:26 am
0
0
"Strong drink is a mocker and

"Strong drink is a mocker and wine is raging and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise."....... duhhhhh..... what!!! What a bunch of babbling BS. Any turn into Regency Mall is a mistake. " "My name is Jose Fuentes-Sanchez, and I'm an alcoholic," ... save it for your AA meetings in prison you POS!

Daddyrabbit
0
Points
Daddyrabbit 12/20/07 - 09:26 am
0
0
deekster I agree. But,

deekster I agree. But, politics and money prevent a solution. MADD is supposed to be anti dui, but I've e-mailed them three times asking about why they don't push for no alcohol sales in gas stations along the interstate, and they have NEVER even replied. I guess there's no money in it for them. Or maybe they think people will pull in, get 5 gallons of gas and a six pack and make sure they get home before they drink it.

Phish
0
Points
Phish 12/20/07 - 09:27 am
0
0
Alcohol drugs cigarettes

Alcohol drugs cigarettes gambling pornography foul language
"he who knoweth to do good and doeth it not to him it is sin"
"all have sinned and come short of the glory of GOD"
"The wages of sin is death, but the gift of GOD is eternal life throgh JESUS CHRIST"
MERRY CHRISTMAS

Tu madre
0
Points
Tu madre 12/20/07 - 09:30 am
0
0
No of course it wasn't worth

No of course it wasn't worth getting drunk, but I guess that's what alcoholism does to a person. He was strong enough to admit that, and that's the first step. I am very proud of him. If my family was on the receiving end, I would (we all would) wish this person to be buried under the jail. He IS a good person, he has his demons to contend with. However, people that INTENTIONALLY go and harm others (hold-ups, break-ins) they seem to be a little more accepted (at least by Judge Overstreet). This punishment did not fit the crime.

thereishope
1
Points
thereishope 12/20/07 - 09:37 am
0
0
wasn't there recently a

wasn't there recently a doctor who killed someone on Riverwatch?did he only get probation? something is wrong with this system!

Tu madre
0
Points
Tu madre 12/20/07 - 09:44 am
0
0
Awww Seven, of course you

Awww Seven, of course you sound like a well educated [filtered word]yourself. I'm almost 100% certain you've NEVER gone to the club, gotten more than tipsy, and felt fine enough to drive home. I'm sure you go to church service EVERY Wednesday and Sunday, and of course, confess allllll of your sins on Saturday. Who the HELL are you to JUDGE anyone on EARTH?

augustalawyer
0
Points
augustalawyer 12/20/07 - 09:47 am
0
0
I would like to know the

I would like to know the immigration status of this killer and his wife.

rufus
2
Points
rufus 12/20/07 - 09:53 am
0
0
When I was in school the DD

When I was in school the DD could only smoke pot

Tall1
1
Points
Tall1 12/20/07 - 09:55 am
0
0
The story clearly states he

The story clearly states he faces deportation upon release.

bigbluefanV
0
Points
bigbluefanV 12/20/07 - 10:02 am
0
0
To Seven, it is not babbling

To Seven, it is not babbling BS. It is from the Word of God.

Tu madre
0
Points
Tu madre 12/20/07 - 10:19 am
0
0
What the hell does their

What the hell does their immigration status have anything to do with anything? BUT for all the people out there that just KNOW that this is some Mexican that crossed the border to steal all the work that Americans are too proud to do, let me reassure you this "Killer" DID enter the country legally... (which means and doing what he needed to do) and his wife, well she's from Puerto Rican - and for all of the ignorant people out there, PR means you're a US Citizen.

BarstoolDreamer
19
Points
BarstoolDreamer 12/20/07 - 10:37 am
0
0
When jesus ran out of wine it

When jesus ran out of wine it called for a miracle....

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 12/20/07 - 10:42 am
0
0
punishment didnt fit the

punishment didnt fit the crime?????????? He can not control himself from drinking and driving.. it was not an accident .. it was and on purpose... the priors and on the 4th he killed someone... taking away someones license and fining then does not deter these drunk drivers. If you can not control yourself from drinking and driving I think you should be locked up for life to protect everyone else from you... 3 strikes you are out fo good. The drunk driver that hit my friends was on his forth and so was the guy who hit my husband. Thank God they are both ok today.. except for the pain they live with every day from the accidents. And yes every one makes mistakes, but he made 4 and it cost a whole family devestation. If he didnt learn on the first, second or 3rd... this was an on purpose!!!!!!!! Glad hes in prison for 16 years.. thats one less drunk that may hit me and my family. And the judges who didnt give him the wakeup call he needed on #3 should be ashamed of him/herself. Pathetic!!!!. and thereishope... how many priors did the dr have? I dont think he had any prior duis did he? I cant remember right now. Everyone can make a mistake.. 4 duis is not a misyake!!!!!!!

Tall1
1
Points
Tall1 12/20/07 - 10:47 am
0
0
If you take a life while

If you take a life while driving drunk, I don't believe it matters if it's your first DUI. It should be prison time. Period. The dead deserve the sentence.

Volunteer
17
Points
Volunteer 12/20/07 - 10:52 am
0
0
The intersection of Deans

The intersection of Deans Bridge Road and Richmond Hill Road is a very dangerous intersection at anytime. Every time you make a left turn from Richmond Hill Road onto Deans Bridge your life is in danger. I make the turn South bound every morning about 7 AM. The North bound traffic comes flying down the hill by Hillcrest cemetery at 50-60 MPH and blow through the red light at Richmond Hill as much as 15-20 seconds after it changes to red. I wish law enforcement would monitor this intersection, which has had so many bad accidents, more often.

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 12/20/07 - 10:56 am
0
0
I agree Tall1, but also they

I agree Tall1, but also they should be pulling more time for thier duis w/o taking a life and it may save lives later. IMO 3 duis you g to jail for life!!! If you are to stupid and irresponsible to quit drinking and driving, the public needs to be protected from you. Drink yourself to death if you people want, but dont drive. Yesterday I donated money to the dui program to have extra officers patroling for duis for the holidays. I tlf them I was more than happy to give, but pass it along that I think the judges who sentence these jerks are sorry!! I thank ther police fr gettin them off the streets for the night, but the judges free them to drive and kill someone the next time!!! PATHETIC!!!!

DogLover
0
Points
DogLover 12/20/07 - 10:58 am
0
0
To TakeAstand: How can you

To TakeAstand:

How can you say that this was not an accident. It was truly an accident. I'm sure Mr. Jose Fuentes-Sanchez didn't get up that morning and say I'm going to get drunk today and intentially kill someone. That's what's wrong with our world today. People do not have compassion for each other anymore. We are all to filled with hate and prejudice to love one another. This is all in God's hands and only he can judge....

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 12/20/07 - 11:02 am
0
0
Dog lover... compassion??????

Dog lover... compassion?????? 4duis is not a mistake... he was on noice he had a problem.. it wasnt his first time and just made a young and dumb mistake.. it was his 4th he had been caught at and no telling how many he didnt get caught at.. He didnt learn his lesson 3 tims of dui... and he continued to do it until it killed someone... howcan you cal it an accident.. when someone intentionally keeps drinking and driving???? He wasnt just tipsy from a drink or 2 after work... he was smashed... where was his compassion for others he may harm or kill after his first dui?? 2nd??? 3rd???? Ke cared nothing about others lives... I have no symapthy for him whatsoever!!! If it was your daughter he killed on his FORTH dui.. I doubt you would have as much compassion as you do now!!

BAY
0
Points
BAY 12/20/07 - 11:17 am
0
0
Just for the record, this was

Just for the record, this was his 5th DUI and he IS an illegal immigrate and should have been deported back in 1999 when he received his first DUI! How does someone enter into our country illegally, obtain a ss#, a driver's license which by the way was suspended, gets multiple DUI's and other violations (hit and run, failure to maintain lane, driving on suspended license, habitual violator, etc...) and only when he's driving drunk again and kills someone is it then found out he is illegal? He will serve his 16 years and he WILL THEN be deported back to Panama. He should have received the maximum sentence of 21 years. Robin Berry is my sister-in-law and unless you were at the sentencing yesterday and know all the facts presented in this case, please keep your ASSUMPTIONS to yourself.

CoastalDawg
125
Points
CoastalDawg 12/20/07 - 11:34 am
0
0
In Alabama, if you're driving

In Alabama, if you're driving drunk and kill someone in an "accident" you are charged with murder. It is time for Georgia legislators to put some teeth into the law concerning drunk drivers who kill or maim people in wrecks. There is absolutely NO excuse for even ONE DUI, but to have had three other convictions and still be on the roads behind the while is unforgivable on his part and on the part of anyone who ever allowed him to have a license after the first conviction. Deportation was mentioned - is he not a legal immigrant? If that is true, the case is worsened by his even having a driver's license, if he did. IF an individual drinks alcohol and gets behind the wheel of a vehicle and drives on any roadway where there are other vehicles he might just as well take an automatic weapon and spray the highway as he drives along because he has just as much chance of killing someone in either case. The law should ahve no patience with anyone who has so little control over himself/herself as to attempt to drive while drunk. A drunk wiped out 5 vehicles parked in my driveway but only got a slap on the wrist and hit another vehicle within months while driving drunk.

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 12/20/07 - 11:34 am
0
0
Bay.. my heart goes out to

Bay.. my heart goes out to your family. 5???? Thats such BS I hate that so much.. it breaks my hearrt. This could have and should have been prevented. I'd love to know which judges didnt get him off the streets on these last few. Like I posted earlier thats what I told the trooper I donated to yesterday.... these drunk drivers get away with to mcuh.. it needs to eb stopped. the judges and unscrupulous lawyers who pride themselves on getting these jerks off should be dealt with. I know someone with 11 dui's.. has served time, but hasn't detered him.... why is he not in jail for life??? MADD doesnt seem to be doin much at all these days. If you need protester outside the courthouse of w/e your causes may be if you chose to fight these pathetic repeat offender laws.. I'm with ya 100%. Just let me know whe and where!! Like I said 13 years ago my hubby was hit by one with 4.. and 2 years ago my friend was put in a wheelchair by one with 4. they didnt want to do anything though cuz she got better and they got paid. But the guy never did any time other than the nights hes been arrested. It makes me sick!!!!. My deepest sympathy to your family hun....

CoastalDawg
125
Points
CoastalDawg 12/20/07 - 11:42 am
0
0
Any time someone drinks

Any time someone drinks alcohol and gets behind the wheel and drives a vehicle, anything that happens is NOT an accident. He made a conscious decision to get drunk and then to try to drive. The safety of the intersection is not an issue here. Oh, and by the way, where did the "when Jesus ran out of wine" comment come from? It was WATER that He TURNED into wine.
Keep up with what kind of decisions your judges render. They have to be elected so remember those bad decisions when elections roll around. Keep a log of particular decisions such as this in which someone was injured or killed. Unfortunately we tend to forget when a judge is running for reelection.

Tu madre
0
Points
Tu madre 12/20/07 - 11:48 am
0
0
Thereishop - evidently blood

Thereishop - evidently blood tests were negative for alcohol & drugs in doctor's accident. That teenager was an acquaintance.

Tu madre
0
Points
Tu madre 12/20/07 - 11:52 am
0
0
bay - for your information -

bay - for your information - he is not an illegal immigrant. maybe you should get all the facts before you open your mouth.

BAY
0
Points
BAY 12/20/07 - 11:56 am
0
0
TakeaStand, Judge Gayle

TakeaStand, Judge Gayle Hamrick resided over all or almost all of his priors. Judge Overstreet made the decision yesterday to put him away for 16 years. We're not from your area so there not much we can do about your elected officials. Thank you for sympathy.

Tu madre
0
Points
Tu madre 12/20/07 - 11:56 am
0
0
bay - for the record - i was

bay - for the record - i was at the hearing yesterday!

Tu madre
0
Points
Tu madre 12/20/07 - 12:03 pm
0
0
Berry Family - you have alot

Berry Family - you have alot to be angry about - and 21 years IS NOT a comparison by any means. CoastalDawg - "Conscious decision to get drunk..." All of us have had those days where we say I just wanna get drunk, but you REALLLLLLY think that any of us are gonna say I'm gonna get so drunk that I'm gonna go kill someone? Berry Family was affected traumatically, but they aren't the only one's suffering. He knows that what he did was wrong. Obviously, he could have prolonged this whole situation till the cows came home - and trust me it could have been pushed for years before he came to trial. But HE wanted to push the trial up for the Berry family's peace of mind. You think he's such a POS, killer, bastard, whatever - He just made a grave mistake.

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