NORTHFIELD, Vt. (AP) — A former student from Vermont’s Norwich University pleaded guilty Thursday to charges he was driving drunk when he crashed his car that was packed with seven passengers returning to school from an off-campus party, killing one and critically injuring three others.
Derek Seber, 23, also pleaded no contest to a charge that he fled the scene of the Oct. 2 crash that killed Norwich freshman Renee Robbins, 18, of Kentwood, Mich.
As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, Seber agreed to serve 2 1/2-years in prison as part of a five- to 15-year sentence.
Sentencing will come at a later date.
After the hearing in Vermont Superior Court in Barre, Robbins’ father Mark Robbins, of Oxford, Mass., said he didn’t think the proposed sentence was long enough. He called for a four-year sentence.
Robbins, a Massachusetts state trooper, said he and his family felt four years in prison, about 10 percent of the maximum sentence for the total of the original charges in the case would be just.
“At no point will my family, Renee’s family, Raemilee’s (Renee’s mother) family and the Seber family ever be equal,”
Robbins said. “This is not about being equal. This is about being held responsible for your actions.”
Seber, who is from Gaithersburg, Md., entered the plea before Superior Court Judge Howard VanBenthuysen.
Seber, who has been free on bail since the day after the accident, spoke clearly in court answering a series of questions
from the judge, but he left the courthouse after the hearing without speaking with reporters.
Witnesses told police Seber was speeding in a car packed with seven others. Renee Robbins was seated on passengers’ laps when Seber’s car went off the road on a curve.
Police say Seber fled the scene of the crash by running a short distance into the woods, gave emergency responders a false name and then tried to flee the hospital. He was later found to have a blood alcohol content of 0.21 percent, which is more than twice the legal limit of 0.08.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)