Family Of OK Man Killed In Crash Feels Sentence Wasn’t Enough For Drunk Driver
TULSA COUNTY, Oklahoma - A Tulsa County judge sentenced a Bixby man to 10 years in prison for a deadly drunk driving crash.
The victim's family said the judge's sentence wasn't harsh enough.
Heather Shipman said she feels like her brother's case got lost in the pile of files the Tulsa County District Attorney's office is prosecuting.
"I want every second that he can possibly be behind bars to be spent there," she said.
The day Shipman has been waiting for for years finally came this week, but it didn't play out like she hoped.
She said the assistant district attorney who was originally prosecuting her brother Gabriel Stone’s case told her she'd be able to read a letter to the drunk driver who killed her brother in October 2016, but she never got the chance.
"I have been writing that letter since the day he killed my brother, in my head, and they just shrugged it off and let him go without hearing it. There is no closure for us," Shipman said.
Tulsa County Assistant District Attorney John Brasher said families have a right by law to read a victim impact statement and their office is now working overtime to make it happen.
"I can't speak right now as to why that didn't happen. Like I said, we are reaching out to the family to talk to them about this issue," Brasher said. "This is an important part of the closure process for the family."
Timothy Harris entered a blind plea Wednesday.
Police said Harris was driving a Corvette that rear-ended a motorcycle at North Memorial Drive and East Newton Place. An affidavit states Harris' Corvette was going 83 mph in a 40 mph zone when he hit Stone on his motorcycle.
Stone was thrown onto the windshield of the Corvette and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Medical personnel and police report that Harris was "extremely combative" and appeared to be intoxicated. His blood alcohol content was .20, court records show.
The judge sentenced Harris to 15 years - the most he'll spend behind bars is 10, and Shipman said that is not enough.
"Fifteen years is definitely not enough. He took the life of my brother, who was only 37 years old," Shipman said.
But, Brasher said, based on the details of the case, the DA's office is happy with the judge's sentence.
"I understand that the family wanted more years but we are happy that this person is behind bars, that Tulsa County is a safer place because Timothy Harris is behind bars," he said.
The DA's office said they will be reaching out to the family and the court in the next few weeks to try to find a time Shipman and her family can read the letter to Harris.