The New Hampshire woman who hit four cyclists, killing two, while high on prescription painkillers was sentenced to up to 40 years in prison for manslaughter and assault on Monday.
In 2013, Darriean Hess was high on the painkiller fentanyl and driving without a license when she crossed the center lane in Seabrook, New Hampshire. The 20-year-old smashed into four cyclists on a charity bike ride and killed two: 60-year-old Pamela Wells and 52-year-old Elise Bouchard. Both women had just started the Granite State Wheelmen Tri-State Seacoast Century ride.
Prior to hitting the cyclists, Hess had been given a speeding ticket and took to the road despite not having a valid license.
During the day of Hess’ sentencing, family members and friends of the victims, as well as Hess’ family members, packed into the courtroom. Some of the victims’ relatives advocated for a longer sentence, while others argued that Hess should receive leniency and a second chance. During the sentencing, Hess barely spoke.
“You changed my world. The whole universe changed,” Margo Heigh said to Hess in the courtroom. “Two of the kindest, most wonderful women were taken from all of us. The whole world is a darker place today.”
Hess was 19 years old when she hit the cyclists in September of 2013. Her mother had recently died and Hess was forced to drop out of college to care for her younger siblings.
Wells left behind a husband and two teenage children. Bouchard left behind a widower, who attended the sentencing on Monday.