Drunk Driver pleads guilty
Date: July 10, 2008 11:46AM
If her were 17, and a girl, he would have received 30 days.
A Fairfax County (web|news) man has admitted he was driving drunk last November when he lost control of his BMW and crashed into a tree, killing one passenger and leaving another in a persistent vegetative state.
Christopher Plaisier pleaded guilty Wednesday to involuntary DWI manslaughter; sentencing is set for October 17. According to sentencing guidelines, Plaisier faces between one and ten years in prison.
Investigators say Plaisier lost control of a 2003 BMW 540i along Wolf Run Shoals Road on Wednesday, November 28 at 8:37 p.m. The car went airborne and struck a tree.
Morgan Cooke, 18, was in the front seat of the BMW when it crashed. She and another passenger were flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital with life-threatening injuries. Cooke died five days later, on Monday, December 3. A second passenger, identified as a 23-year-old Fairfax man, was left in a vegetative state.
"When they said Morgan's name, I started to cry," Morgan's mother Kay Cooke said. She had never seen Plaisier before until he stood before a judge.
"I'm still angry. Someday I want to forgive, but I'm not there," Morgan's father Fred Cooke said. He will be at Plaisier's sentencing, where he faces up to 10 years behind bars. Then, Fred will talk about his loss. "I want him to understand that my life is changed forever. I'll never recover."
Morgan's brother Sean hopes Plaisier speaks before his sentencing. "I'd like to hear what he had to say, if he's sorry for what he did."
Investigators said speed and alcohol were factors in the crash. They also say Cooke was not wearing her seat belt.
Plaisier surrendered to authorities Wednesday to begin serving his expected sentence.
Plaisier had been charged with a more serious offense, aggravated manslaughter, but agreed to the lesser charging as part of a plea deal.
Cooke's family has filed a $6 million wrongful death civil lawsuit against Plaisier.
After court ended Wednesday, Plaisier's attorney did not comment. His parents left the courtroom in tears, but they weren't alone. "He's a young man who's made a terrible, tragic mistake. I cried again when they put the handcuffs on him and led him away."