Thomas Wallace sobbed today as he was sentenced to 3-to-9 years in state prison for manslaughter in the second degree for the wrongful death of Julie Stratton, a 33-year-old Erie County, NY, mother of two.
Under New York State penal law, "A person is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree when: He recklessly causes the death of another person".
Wallace, of Ohio, was driving a truck on the New York State Thruway near Pembroke in December, 2009, watching porn on his laptop, with only four hours of sleep in the previous 27, when he hit Stratton's car, stalled in the passing lane shortly after she had hit a deer. Stratton was speaking with a 9-1-1 dispatcher at the time of collision.
Manslaughter in the second degree is a class C felony, punishable by five to 15 years in prison.
Because the burden of proof for a criminal matter is greater than for a civil suit, Mr. Wallace's plea will also suffice to prove liability for wrongful death, should suit be initiated on behalf of Stratton's family.