Unlicensed driver who killed 2 cyclists gets up to 40 years

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N.H. (AP) — An unlicensed, intoxicated driver who plowed her car into a
group of bicyclists, killing two of them, was sentenced Monday to up to
40 years in prison after loved ones of the victims spoke of the agony
their deaths had caused.

“You changed my world. The whole universe
changed,” a tearful Margo Heigh told Darriean Hess, speaking of her
late friends. “Two of the kindest, most wonderful women were taken from
all of us. The world is a darker place today.”

Hess, 20, pleaded
guilty to two counts each of manslaughter and second-degree assault in
the deaths of Pamela Wells, 60, of Hamilton, Massachusetts, and Elise
Bouchard, 52, of Danvers, Massachusetts. Heigh, of Danvers, was injured,
along with Uwe Yhmeyer, 60, of Essex, Massachusetts.

Hess had
been ticketed for speeding eight hours before the Sept. 21, 2013, crash
and was under the influence of a powerful painkiller when she ran into
the four friends and cyclists in Hampton, County Attorney Patricia
Conway said. Hess was aware of the Tri-State Century Ride, a 100-mile
noncompetitive ride along the Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine
coasts, and there was nothing obstructing her view as she came up and
over a bridge and veered into the other lane.

Witnesses described bodies and bicycles flying in the air.
was sentenced in Rockingham County Superior Court to 15 to 40 years in
prison, with an additional seven to 14 years suspended. Other than
answering the judge’s questions in a low, nearly inaudible voice, Hess
didn’t speak at the hearing and only glanced at her victims’ family
members who gave emotional statements.

Hess heard Wells’ voice
when her brother Kim Wells played a cheerful voice mail she had left for
his son two days before her death.

“I didn’t play that to be cruel,” he told Hess. “I hope you take that voice with you.”

Since his sister’s death, Wells said, he has lost the ability to be joyful or appreciate beauty.

know I’ve boxed myself into a corner — it’s a spider web of pain,” he
said. “Some say, ‘Think of good memories,’ but I still want new ones.
Some say, ‘Get past it. Find closure. Find resolution.’ But I’m afraid
I’m going to forget her.”

Another brother Peter Wells said that
for better or worse, Hess has become part of his family’s story, and he
implored her to make the rest of her life meaningful.

“As strange as it sounds, good luck with your yet unrealized significant moments,” he said.

Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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