A Pennsylvania appeals court has upheld the prison sentence for a Lancaster man charged with causing fatal vehicle crash while drunk and speeding just outside the city in 2014.
A Lancaster County judge previously jailed Carlos Rene Garcia for 19 ¼ to 38 years for causing the Feb. 22, 2014, crash that killed 24-year-old Kaitlyn Berry and seriously injured her mother.
At the time, it was the longest prison term ever ordered in Lancaster County on a vehicular homicide while DUI case.
Garcia appealed to the state Superior Court for a new sentence, arguing the term was excessive. That was recently denied.
The high court decided that the sentencing judge gave reasons for the sentence considered all appropriate factors.
“The trial court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Garcia,” the Superior Court states in its 13-page opinion.
Assistant District Attorney Christine L. Wilson prosecuted the case.
The fatality is one of many District Attorney Craig Stedman considered in asking for harsher punishment and more court oversight of repeat DUI offenders.
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.
In April, Thomas Gallagher Jr. was jailed 20 to 50 years after pleading guilty to third-degree murder regarding a DUI crash that killed a recent high-school graduate in West Lampeter Township.