PITTSFIELD, Mass. — On Thursday, August 1, a Sandy Hook man was sentenced by a Berkshire Superior Court judge to serve 15 to 18 years in state prison, after the man pleaded guilty to nine charges stemming from a February 2012 multi-vehicle drunken driving accident in which a 24-year-old Sheffield, Mass., woman was killed.
Fredrick J. Weller, 36, entered guilty pleas to the nine charges before Judge John Agostini, according to court spokesman Frederick Lantz.
In April 2012, Weller initially pleaded not guilty to the charges. Before his sentencing, Weller had been detained on $1 million bail.
Police have said that a Ford F-350 pickup truck driven by Weller on Route 7 in Sheffield on February 28, 2012, swerved into oncoming traffic.
The truck collided head-on with a Dodge Neon sedan driven by then 52-year-old Russell Brown, formerly of Great Barrington, Mass., who was seriously injured.
The truck driven by Weller ended up on top of a Toyota Corolla sedan driven by Moira Banks-Dobson, who was killed.
Sheffield is on the Connecticut border, north of North Canaan. The portion of Route 7 where the accident occurred is a straight stretch of road with a posted speed limit of 55 miles per hour.
Weller reportedly had been charged with at least four other drunken driving offenses in the past in various Northeast states before the fatality in Sheffield.
Connecticut Superior Court records indicate that Weller has been convicted in seven separate cases involving various criminal/motor vehicle charges from 2005 to 2011.
In Berkshire Superior Court on August 1, Weller pleaded guilty to one count of motor vehicle homicide while under the influence of alcohol and driving to endanger; one count of driving under the influence of alcohol resulting in serious bodily injury and driving to endanger; one count of driving under the influence of alcohol/fifth offense; one count of intimidation of a witness; one count of leaving the scene of a personal injury accident that resulted in death; one count of leaving the scene of a personal injury accident; two counts of leaving the scene of a property damage accident; and one count of driving with a suspended license, according to Mr Lantz.
Judge Agostini ordered that Weller serve a 12- to 14-year state prison sentence at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the charge of motor vehicle homicide while under the influence of alcohol and driving to endanger.
Weller received a 3- to 4-year state prison sentence, to be served after the homicide sentence, on the charge of driving under the influence of alcohol with serious bodily injury and driving to endanger charge.
Weller received concurrent prison time on the seven other charges. Weller must serve 15 years in prison before becoming eligible to seek parole.
Weller’s public defender reportedly had asked that Weller be sentenced to 10 to 12 years in prison.
The Sheffield Police Department conducted the accident investigation.