A 23-year-old man who admitted striking two vehicles and fatally injuring a pedestrian within a brief period on Jan. 7 was sentenced to a long prison term yesterday by a judge who said the man's use of drugs that day should serve as a stern warning to the youth of the city.
In handing down a term of eight to 25 years in prison, D.C. Superior Court Judge Fred B. Ugast told the defendant, Francis D. Adams Jr., that "not only are you wrecking your own life but you are making victims of innocent people."
Adams has acknowledged that he had used drugs since the sixth grade and had been "shooting cocaine" and smoking PCP heavily for five days prior to the spree of car accidents that culminated in the death of 37-year-old Sharlee R. McDonald. Adams also told police he had "some PCP and cocaine" the morning of the accident.
Adams, who lives in Waldorf, Md., earlier pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter while armed in exchange for the government's agreement to drop other charges in connection with the events on the day of the accident.
"This sentence reflects in part my feelings that what we have here is a felony murder, almost a felony murder," Ugast told Adams.
Adams stood as he addressed the judge and the members of McDonald's family in the courtroom. He said he was "very, very sorry about what happened . . . she was completely an innocent person at this time." Adams, who had been released from prison on another conviction two weeks before the accident, will not be eligible for parole for at least eight years.
Prosecutor Gordon Andrew McKay told the judge that Adams' history of drug abuse was "not an excuse" and that Adams had committed a number of crimes that day.
McKay described in court how on that morning Adams began "the fatal chain of events" when he fled the Greyhound Bus Terminal at 1110 New York Ave. NW after a Greyhound official found Adams attempting to steal packages from the station. The prosecutor said Adams fled in a stolen car he had won the day before in a pool game.
After he sped off, McKay said Adams struck a taxicab and then ran a red light before colliding with a truck. Adams, who did not have a license, did not stop or slow down after either crash and continued at a quick pace until he struck McDonald who was walking in a crosswalk, McKay said.
McDonald's body came crashing through the car, McKay said, but Adams kept driving along 11th Street, carrying the woman's body for about 90 feet until it was flung to the ground when Adams made an abrupt U-turn.