John McNamara was driving his Camaro SS drunk, maxing out at
152 mph on the night of the August 2010 crash that killed Abby Cockrill. Cockrill's life ended. McNamara's will merely be put on pause; a judge sentenced the 27-year-old to 17 years in prison (13 years for involuntary manslaughter and four years for assault).
"A bright young lady died at the hands of a man driving drunk at the indefensibly high speed of 152 mph," Platte County prosecutor Eric Zahnd said in a statement. "I hope this case helps send the message that our society will no longer respond to drunk driving with a slap on the wrist."
McNamara will have to serve 85 percent of his sentence before he's eligible for parole.
On August 22, 2010, McNamara
hit the rear of the Pontiac G6 that Cockrill was riding in. He'd slowed
down to 131 mph, and the impact
sent the Pontiac off the road, causing it to overturn and travel more than 430
feet. Cockrill died at the scene -- northbound on Interstate 29 near
McNamara's blood-alcohol content at the hospital was .171.
"The defendant was not just driving 10 miles over the speed limit,"
Zahnd said in a statement. "In fact, he was not driving 20, 30, 40, 50,
60, or even 70 miles over the speed limit. Instead, this defendant was
traveling at more than 80 miles over the speed limit, all while drunk.
That is utterly indefensible."
the first time that McNamara had driven drunk. He had a prior guilty
plea in Clay County. In that case, he was driving 82 mph before being
Cockrill was attending Northwest Missouri State University, where she
was on track to graduate with honors in December 2010 with a degree in
early childhood development. She had just started student teaching at
Siegrist Elementary School in Platte City. She also was a youth minister
at her church.
McNamara pleaded guilty in January to involuntary manslaughter
Is 17 years enough of a punishment? I'm happy he won't be sharing the road with me for at least that long.