An inmate’s latest request for relief from a prison sentence for driving drunk during a 2014 fatal crash was denied by a state appeals court.
Carlos R. Garcia, now 36, is serving 19¼ to 38 years for causing a Feb. 22, 2014, crash just outside Lancaster city that killed 24-year-old Kaitlyn Berry and seriously injured her mother.
Garcia, who pleaded guilty that same year, filed a request to withdraw the plea, arguing he did not realize a judge could order consecutive sentences on the charges.
Garcia also argued his attorney misrepresented what the potential sentence could be.
The Pennsylvania Superior Court recently denied the request, finding that Garcia was aware the charges could be sentenced consecutively.
Specifically, Garcia signed paperwork regarding that, and was told he faced a potential, maximum 53-year term.
Regarding Garcia’s second claim, the high court found, his attorney mentioned potential sentence terms, but Garcia was aware the sentence was fully up to the judge.
Assistant District Attorney Christine L. Wilson prosecuted the case.
Garcia’s blood-alcohol level was .144 percent shortly after the crash, and he was driving on a suspended license from a prior DUI. The legal limit for drivers in Pennsylvania is .08 percent.
Berry was killed; her mother, Lisa Stamper, was seriously hurt.
Garcia’s 7-year-old son was a passenger in his vehicle when he veered into and struck Stamper’s vehicle nearly head-on in the 1300 block of East King Street.
Manheim Township police filed charges because the crash happened in Lancaster Township.
MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041; email@example.com; Twitter: @BrettHambright