Posted: Jun 13, 2013 8:42 AM by Angela Douglas - MTN News
BILLINGS - A Broadview woman who's accused of driving drunk and causing a multi-vehicle crash in 2011, which ultimately claimed the lives of two people, was sentenced Wednesday in Yellowstone County District Court.
Mary Ahern, 54, will serve three years with the Montana Department of Corrections on the charges of one count negligent homicide and one count negligent vehicular assault.
Judge Mary Jane Knisely sentenced Ahern to 20 years with the DOC, with 17 years suspended on the negligent homicide charge, and 10 years, with seven suspended for the negligent vehicular assault charge. The sentences will run concurrently.
"Two communities are destroyed, two families are devastated and the only way to put any of that back together is for you to get clean and sober," Judge Knisely told the defendant. "And it's time."
Ahern will serve three years with the Montana Department of Corrections on the charges of one count negligent homicide and one count negligent vehicular assault. During that time, Ahern will also receive treatment for her alcoholism.
Ahern was driving northbound on Highway 3 on Sept. 11, 2011, when she collided head-on with an oncoming van. The van ended up broadside in the middle of the highway, and a third vehicle T-boned the driver's side of the van.
The van was driven by Tom Alderson, 77, of Basin, Wyoming. His wife, Muriel, 80, was traveling in the passenger seat and died on scene. Tom was flown to St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings, where he remained for three months until he passed away.
During Wednesday's sentencing, the Alderson's children testified on the behalf of their parents.
"He went to the intensive care unit and all he could say when we got there was, 'Wife, wife.' That was all he was uttering from the time of the accident," said Erik Alderson. "I had to tell him that she had passed away at the scene of the accident. He never really said anything else after that. That was a blow to him. They had been through a lot together, they were soul mates."
Erik's sister, Gwen, also spoke to the court saying that her parents were good people and they deserved justice. She asked the courtroom to not forget that they were real people.
Ahern also addressed the courtroom, apologizing to the Aldersons.
"There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about all the sorrow and sadness that I've caused them," she said through tears.