Reporting Jessica Kartalija
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WJZ)– A Montgomery County man takes full responsibility for a drunk driving crash that killed three of his friends last May.
Jessica Kartalija reports the driver plead guilty to three counts of vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident.
“He’s devastated and obviously not any more than those families and parents and brothers and sisters,” said Kelly Hartman, driver Kevin Coffay’s neighbor. “It’s just an awful, awful thing.”
Coffay’s blood alcohol level more than three hours after the crash was .16, twice the legal limit.
“It was a horrific accident that affected thousands of lives and it could have been any of our children,” said Liz Connelly, Coffay’s neighbor.
Now, six months later, parts of the car that slammed into the tree are still visible, along with faded memories of the three lives lost here. Steps away, a new guard rail stands watch, one that may help prevent a similar tragedy.
“I didn’t realize how much I had until I lost it,” said Jimmy Hoover, victim Johnny Hoover’s brother.
The crash killed three friends and hospitalized one other. Killed in the crash, were 18-year-old Haeley McGuire, 18-year-old Spencer Datt and 20-year-old Johnny Hoover.
Their autopsies read in court revealed shocking injuries, broken bones, crushed skulls and severely damaged organs.
“When I go home today, Johnny is not going to be there, I’m not going to be able to call Spencer, I’m not going to be able to see Haley around,” Jimmy Hoover said.
Coffay had gone to two parties, before getting behind the wheel, despite at least one friend urging him not to, and another friend begging him to slow down. He fled the scene on foot, without checking on his friends or calling for help.
A judge had to be brought in from Frederick County as two of the victims’ fathers are well-known attorneys in Montgomery County.