LUTHERVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — The driver who pleaded guilty to two counts of automobile manslaughter in a crash that killed 60-year-old Deborah Limmer and her 5-year-old granddaughter Delaney Gaddis was sentenced Monday to ten years in prison.

Callie Schwarzman, 23, said in court she took responsibility for the July 23, 2018, fatal crash near Dulaney High School.

Driver Pleads Guilty In Crash That Killed 60-Year-Old Woman, 5-Year-Old Granddaughter In Baltimore County

Video WJZ obtained from prosecutors showed Limmer pushing Gaddis in a stroller along Girdwood Road. Moments later, according to prosecutors, a Kia SUV with Schwarzman behind the wheel jumped the sidewalk, striking the pair. 

Schwarzman stopped about a block away and rushed back toward the scene.

Prosecutors say Schwarzman had THC and methadone in her system and was speeding at 44 miles per hour in a 25 miles per hour zone on Girdwood Road in Timonium when she hit Limmer. Prosecutors say Schwarzman was rushing to a methadone clinic that morning.

At the hearing, family members of the victims wept and spoke about how their lives were devastated by the crash.

“I have lost two of the most important people in my life in a senseless tragedy that could’ve been prevented. I will suffer from this tragedy for the rest of my life,” said Jennifer Gaddis, Delaney’s mother and Deborah’s daughter. “I held my daughter’s dead, cold, limp, mangled body.”

She called Schwarzman’s actions “selfish” and described how she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder because of the tragedy and was “consumed with grief.”

“I hope you never decide to get behind the wheel again,” she told the defendant. Then, noting Schwarzman’s red prison jumpsuit, she said, “Delaney’s favorite color is red—just like you’re wearing. I hope you think about that.”

Delaney’s surviving grandmother decried “habitual offenders” and “this system of forgiveness at any and all costs.”

“The day Delaney was ripped from our hearts and lives, our entire family was given a life sentence with no hope for parole,” she told the judge.

The victims’ family played a video in court showing Delaney and her grandmother celebrating birthdays and family gatherings.

Schwarzman said in court she takes responsibility for the crash. As part of her sentence, she can ask the court to be released to a drug treatment facility in three years. 

Schwarzman chose to address the judge. At times, she was barely audible above her sobs.

“There really are no words that can describe how sorry I am. I cannot imagine what you’ve been through,“ Schwarzman said. “I take full responsibility for the results of my actions. I pray that you guys can find peace in your suffering.”

“This is one of the most tragic cases I have seen,“ said Judge Nancy Purpura. “There’s nothing anyone can do to compensate the family and friends of the victims for their loss. It’s obvious how much Delaney and her grandmother were loved by you.“ 

Schwarzman’s attorney Patrick Preller argued no officer on the scene that day felt his client was impaired enough to make her perform a field sobriety test. He noted a lack of alcohol in her system.

He also said her uncle, a mechanic, recently filled her car with power steering fluid and advised her that it was fine to drive short distances.

An inspection following the crash showed her Kia Sportage also had three bald tires.

The defense also argued that stretch of Girdwood Road was known to be dangerous. The county has since made some improvements.

Her lawyer asked for six years in prison. He argued she should not be punished more harshly than others and cited the high-profile case of former Bishop Heather Cook.

Cook, a repeat drunk driver, was sentenced to seven years behind bars for hitting and killing cyclist Thomas Palermo in Roland Park in 2015. Cook served about half of that sentence before her release.

Outside of the courthouse, Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger said he was happy with the sentence but that nothing can bring back Debbie and Delaney.

“The sentence serves a dual purpose of punishing the victim but also trying to fix some of the problems that she has, and if she doesn’t fix herself, then she goes back to jail. And we think that’s an excellent deterrent,” he said.

As for Delaney’s mother, she said she will try to have children again and asked that people, “just pray for our family. I pray that no other family has to go through this.”

 

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