Drunk Driver Gets Jail, Probation For Fatal Crash
Patrick McCormick of Chesterfield, who struck and killed a teacher last year, was sentenced to one year in jail and five years probation.
Patrick McCormick, 55, of Chesterfield was sentenced to one year in St. Louis County Jail Friday by Associate Circuit Court Judge Thomas Prebil. McCormick pleaded guilty to driving into a teacher's car while he was drunk on August 26, 2011.
The one-year jail sentence was for a second-degree assault charge. He was also initially given five years in prison on the manslaughter charge, but the sentence was suspended and he was placed on five years probation.
McCormick also must seek alcohol counseling and wear an alcohol monitoring SCRAM bracelet for one year after his release from jail.
Friends of the Esrock family reacted angrily to what they said was a very light sentence.
'What a life is worth'
“Judge Prebil just told everyone in St. Louis that it is OK to drink and drive,” said Sue Ferguson, who said she was Chuck Esrock’s employer and a family friend. Chuck Esrock is Janet’s husband. “And if you kill someone, you serve nine months and 13 days in jail. That’s what a life is worth.”
Typically, a prisoner will serve nine months and 13 days on a on a one-year sentence.
Ferguson said, “The family is in shock. They’re upset. We all are.”
McCormick's attorney, N. Scott Rosenblum, was asked by reporters if he thought his client got off easy.
He replied, "That's not for me to decide. You heard the judge. The judge has considered everything. He is a very, very thorough, thoughtful jurist. That's for everybody else to decide, that's not for me to decide."
Esrock family members did not comment on Friday's sentence other than one remark from her brother as he left the courtroom.
"There is nothing that we can say that's going to bring my sister back," he stated.
‘I see her every day’
McCormick and Chuck Esrock made statements before the sentencing.
McCormick apologized to the family and said he agonizes over the crash and frequently dreams about Janet and Jonathan Esrock.
“I see her every day in one form or another,” he said.
“I have a heartfelt and deep emotional feeling of guilt of everything I’ve done,” McCormick said.
'I miss my wife'
Esrock, who spoke first, said he agonized over what to say and only decided on Aug. 2, his wife’s birthday.
He told about getting a midnight phone call and listening to a doctor detail his wife and son’s injuries.
“I quickly realized my life had been changed forever,” he said.
Esrock talked about the hole left by his wife’s absence among his family, friends and Whitfield School, and the hardship they’ve, faced including his father-in-law’s stroke and his son Jonathan’s struggle to recover from his injuries.
“I will tell you I worry about my children,” Esrock said. “But more than anything, I miss my wife.”
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