Society

Connecticut Woman Gets 6 Months for Killing Two Men in Drunk Driving Incident

| by Lisa Fogarty

A Connecticut woman responsible for the deaths of two men whom she ran over while driving drunk in October 2010 was sentenced to less than one year in jail – and her punishment isn’t sitting well with the victims’ families.

Candice Blanks, 43, was given a six-month prison sentence by Judge Gary White after she killed college student Felipe Chagas, 19, and 21-year-old Lucas Silva, reports Stamford Advocate. Vera Chagas, Felipe’s mother, reportedly began crying as the sentence was announced in court and yelled out, “You killed my son and you got only six months.”

Blanks got behind the wheel of her Lincoln Navigator on Oct. 16, 2010 after drinking alcohol with friends in South Norwalk, according to court documents. At around 2:30 a.m., she hit Chagas and Silva as they were changing a flat tire on Interstate 95. Her car dragged Silva about 170 feet away their vehicle and pulled Chagas under his car.

When police found Blanks about a half mile away from the scene of the crime, they say she had bloodshot eyes, smelled of alcohol, failed her balance tests and had urinated on herself. She refused to take a Breathalyzer test, they say, and reportedly asked at the police station if she could make a call home to speak with her dog and tell him she wouldn’t be returning that night.

Blanks pleaded guilty to DUI charges, reports News 12. Although she was immediately charged with two counts of evading responsibility and vehicular manslaughter, prosecutors lacked the evidence needed to go forward with these more serious charges.  Attorneys were unable to determine exactly where Chagas and Silva were hit and it wasn’t clear whether they were on the side of the road or standing on the highway. Had she been convicted of manslaughter, her sentence would have likely been one to 10 years behind bars.

The prosecutor, supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Steven Weiss, called the case and the way it was handled “tragic.”

At her sentencing, Blanks issued an apology to the families she hurt and said she was “heartbroken” for their loss. But White cut her off and advised her to direct her apology at him and not at the two families.

After Blanks’ attorney insisted the sole reason for her arrest was drunk driving, White shot back, “I think your client deserves every day of this sentence that I am about to impose.”

Sources: Stamford Advocate, News 12

Photo Credit: William F. Yurasako/Flickr, News 12