An Arlington County Circuit Court judge imposed a 17-year prison sentence yesterday on a Washington man who drove a stolen car head-on into the car of an Arlington man, killing him last August.
At the time of the crash, Michael Gray, 28, was driving a stolen Ford Taurus north in the southbound lane of Route 110 near Arlington National Cemetery when his car crashed into that of Donald O'Connor, 33.
Judge William L. Winston imposed the maximum sentence of 10 years for involuntary manslaughter on Gray. Gray also received 10 years, with five suspended, for robbery, and two years for using a firearm in the commission of a felony. He will be eligible for parole in about four years, his attorney said.
According to court records, Gray and William Earl Bunn had stolen the Ford from a Prince George's County couple just before the crash.
Police said the crash ended a two-day crime rampage involving the two, who had robbed a customer of $300 at an automated teller machine on Jefferson Davis Highway.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Esther Wiggins said in court that Gray had confessed to having "used drugs all day" before the crash occurred. She said tests showed traces of drugs in his blood.
After the accident, Bunn fled on foot and was arrested several days later. He was sentenced last year to 14 years in prison after pleading guilty to robbery and other charges.
Gray made a brief statement at yesterday's sentencing, expressing remorse for O'Connor's death. "It was an accident," he said. "I'm sorry for his family and for my family."
Gray's court-appointed attorney, Robert Lee Tomlinson II, argued that because Gray had suffered injuries in the accident, his sentence should be reduced.
O'Connor's widow, Donna, 30, said she was "relieved that I won't have to have sleepless nights thinking about this all the time." She was speaking to her husband on his car phone when the crash killed him.
"He took more than 10 years from my husband and he destroyed my family," she said in an interview. Her 15-month-old daughter "will grow up never remembering the experience of her father," O'Connor said. "Even if he was put away for life, it wouldn't bring my husband back."