MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A maximum sentence was suspended in the fatal drunk driving case in Morgantown that killed a Charleston native.
Alexander Hambrick was intoxicated the night of Jan. 17, 2016 when he ran his truck up over a sidewalk on Stewart Street striking Carli Sears, 20, of Charleston. Her body was thrown more than 30 yards before coming to rest over a hillside. She died from her injuries at Ruby Memorial Hospital.
Hambrick, who admitted to police he was drunk the night of the incident, pleaded guilty to DUI with death and leaving the scene of an accident with death, both felony charges
In Monongalia County Circuit Court Tuesday, Feb. 28, Judge Phillip Gaujot ordered Hambrick, 20, to report to the North Central Regional Jail Friday, March 3 by 5 p.m. to await transfer to the Anthony Correctional Center for youthful offenders.
If the Winfield man does not successfully complete the program, he will be sent to prison for a maximum of 20 years. The penalty for the DUI with death charge is three to 15 years in prison. The penalty for leaving the scene of a fatal accident is one to five years in prison.
Gaujot ordered the sentences to run consecutively.
If Hambrick completes the programs, which according to prosecutors can take six months to two years, he will return to Monongalia County Circuit Court for a re-sentencing.
Hambrick’s sentencing hearing lasted more than 2 hours. His victim’s parents were among those who filled the courtroom chambers and spoke at the hearing.
Sears, 20, was visiting friends in Morgantown during the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend when she was killed. The former George Washington High School graduate was enrolled at the University of Mississippi at the time of her death.
Brent Sears, the victim’s father, fought tears when he told Hambrick, who was 19 at the time of the deadly hit and run, that the defendant should be given the same pain and suffering he caused the victim.
“We, her family and friends, will never see her graduate from one of the most prestigious colleges in the United States nor will we see her continue teaching children how to swim. We won’t see her marry or have the cutest children in the world. We will not see her grow closer to her older sister as they age,” said Sear’s father.
“You failed to do the right thing. You chose to drink, drive and kill. In addition to being angry, I’m sad that you killed my daughter taking her from all of us that loved her,” the father continued.
Gaujot was presented with numerous letters from friends and family encouraging a maximum sentence be handed down to the Ripley High School graduate. He also read portions of letters from Hambrick’s parents requesting some leniency in sentencing.
Hambrick’s attorneys requested he be placed on probation and home confinement.