Driver gets five years for fatal crash -- Gazette.Net


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Robert W. Rice Jr., 35, was sentenced to five years in prison Wednesday for an Aug. 4, 2011, car accident in Callaway that left two young women dead and others injured.

Visiting Prince George’s County Judge Maureen M. Lamasney rejected a motion from Rice’s attorney, James F. Farmer, for a new trial.

Farmer said Rice suffered from a hypoglycemic condition before the accident as a result of his lifelong struggle with diabetes and said Rice did not know what was happening at that time.

“Someone in a hypoglycemic condition is not aware of what they’re doing,” Farmer said.

“I think there was more to it than that,” Lamasney said.

“Not much more,” Farmer said.

“Much more,” Lamasney said.

The judge found Rice guilty of two counts of vehicular manslaughter last summer. Killed in the accident were Chernica Arielle “Ce-Ce” Boyland, 22, of Lexington Park and Lisa Annette Proctor Brooks, 22, of Leonardtown.

On Wednesday, Lamasney sentenced Rice to 10 years with five years suspended concurrently for each of the two counts. With 51 days of jail credited, Rice began the prison sentence that day, said St. Mary’s Assistant State’s Attorney Laura Caspar. The judge also sentenced Rice to five years of supervised probation after prison.

Rice has 30 days to appeal.

“Nobody is saying that you intended to kill these individuals or hurt anyone,” Lamasney said. “It’s not on the table. Nobody is punishing you for a medical condition. The diabetes did not cause the accident. It was the reckless driving and speeding of the vehicle.”

The prosecution said Rice fled the scene after striking a vehicle driven by Sophie Newbury. “He made gestures, he honked his horn” at Newbury, Caspar said, then drove off and got into another wreck that killed the two young women.

At the scene, Rice asked to be pulled out of the flaming wreck, Caspar said.

Rice allegedly told Newbury and her passenger, “‘I wish I had killed the both of you, too.’ That showed awareness,” Caspar said.

Before the sentence was passed, Rice said to the survivors’ families, “I really do apologize. I really was unaware. It truly was a diabetic situation.”

However, Lamasney noted, “It looks like you have a motor vehicle record that goes back 20 years.”

Caspar said Rice previously was convicted of participating in a speeding contest and had several other convictions for speeding.

After the 2011 fatal accident, Rice moved to Florida, where he got a new driver’s license, Caspar said, after his Maryland driver’s license was suspended.

Rice’s family and friends testified about his giving and caring nature.

Pamela Key said of her deceased sister, Lisa Brooks, “she was doing very well until Mr. Rice decided to take that all way from her. His actions … were just so uncalled for. All we have are memories and those just aren’t enough.”

Key said it took her a long time to find forgiveness for Rice. “I have to be honest, it’s hard, but I do. I am not his judge,” she said.

“Today and the rest of my life I will mourn the loss of my daughter,” said Yevette Rhodes, Chernica Boyland’s mother. After prayer and thought, Rhodes said to Rice, “I do forgive you for taking my daughter’s life.”

Rice thanked those who forgave him, and said, “I don’t blame anybody for hating me. I know that I cannot apologize enough to bring back family members. I really do feel for you guys. I’ve had many sleepless nights trying to deal with this.”

jbabcock@somdnews.com