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Drunken Driver Who Killed Cyclist Gets 4 1/2 to 13 Years

February 19, 2016


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Gregg Shore, 215.348.6202, gdshore@buckscounty.org

A mentally troubled woman who killed a married father of two while driving drunk was sentenced today to serve 4 ½ to 13 years in state prison.

Wendy Kristen Hawkes, 34, of Ottsville, pleaded guilty in Bucks County Court to charges including homicide by vehicle while DUI in the July 9 death of Daniel Wilson, 45, also of Ottsville.

“You didn’t have respect for your own life,” President Judge Jeffrey L. Finley told Hawkes, and “your actions showed a gross lack of respect” for the lives of others.

Hawkes was drunk and speeding on Ervin Road in Tinicum Township when her vehicle veered into the path of Wilson’s oncoming bicycle. Wilson was less than two feet from the shoulder of the opposite lane when Hawkes’ Toyota sedan struck and killed him, Assistant District Attorney Gregg Shore said.

Hawkes had consumed three-quarters of a bottle of vodka found in her vehicle. Her blood alcohol content later was determined to be .29 percent. She also had been driving 17 miles per hour above the posted speed of 45 mph, Shore said.

In statements read in court, Wilson’s wife, sister, best friend and two young sons described an outdoor enthusiast who doted on his family and carefully taught his children to respect all forms of life.

“Wendy Hawkes has ruined our lives,” Wilson’s widow, Jill, told the judge. “Please don’t allow her to ruin anyone else’s life.”

In statements read in court by a victims’ advocate, Wilson’s school-age children wrote of the void they feel without their father when doing homework, performing chores and engaging in family activities – and of the empty chair they see every night at the dinner table.

“It is not fair that I do not have my Dad anymore,” one of the boys wrote, “and I am very angry."

Hawkes was described as a onetime honor student who has struggled with depression since age 12, and with alcoholism throughout her adult life. She had been in a succession of inpatient treatment programs, family members said.

Two months before the accident, her mother testified, Hawkes had tried to quit drinking cold turkey, which provoked a series of withdrawal seizures over several days. One of them caused her to hit her head and suffer a skull fracture.

She entered a mental health facility in Montgomery County and, after two weeks there, spent a month at a rehab hospital. She said she was discharged on June 29 before she had received all the treatment she felt she needed, and she started drinking again. After trying to re-enter treatment, she said, her insurance company refused to cover her and she resided instead with her mother.

Hawkes said her mother had ordered her out of the house the day before the accident, and that she was driving with all of her possessions in the car when she struck and killed Wilson.

“Please know that in my heart I know that what I did was wrong, immoral, senseless and reckless,” Hawkes said in court. “I pray for (Wilson’s) family often, not for forgiveness, but that God will bless them and bring them comfort.”

Finley sentenced Hawkes to serve four to 10 years for homicide by vehicle while DUI, plus an additional six to 36 months for causing an accident involving death or serious injury while not properly licensed.

“There is never, ever an appropriate sentence in these matters,” the judge said. “It’s impossible. Nothing this Justice Center can do can begin to restore these individuals.”

Approved for release by Robert James, Deputy District Attorney.

23 Comments

  1. 23 Brian Staley 19 Feb
    I am very disappointed by today's justice system..This girl will be free in 4 yrs after taking an innocent fathers life.. Sad 
  2. 22 AJG 19 Feb
    I'm confident had the judge asked Hawked how long she deserved, it would have been much longer than 4.5 years! It was a disgrace for her to be able to continue her life with family after such a short incarceration when her action solely and permanently took the life of another from his family...
  3. 21 Tiffany Peoples 19 Feb
    This does not put anyone at ease, especially Dan's family and friends. I knew Dan personally since I was a child (my dads best friend).. She she be sentenced for life! At the end of the day we lost a husband, father, uncle, brother, and friend, there is nothing you can do to get that back. Dan was a great man, to everyone and anyone he knew, such a great heart filled human being, all taken away due to someone's lack of responsibility for their own actions.... There is no justice with her sentence. At the end of the day she should be locked up until the day she dies just to feel how much it hurts and deteriorating a little more each day. After all isn't that what she has done to all of us? Dan's family, and friends that hurt due to her actions?! I am disgusted ! 
  4. 20 Lisa 20 Feb
    This is not justice....she'll be out in a relatively short period of time and there is a good chance she will drink and drive again. 
  5. 19 Vange 21 Feb
    This is the system!!  Doesn't mean we agree or like it.  HOWEVER, all impacted by this case will be watching  her closely when she gets out.  Probation will be tight.  She will be tested frequently.  ONE hot reading she will thrown back in jail and her sentence  re-upped w/out question.  She's messed up her whole life, so you know it will happen again.  4-1/2 yrs this round w/ another to follow!
  6. 18 HeyWouldJaBlowMe 23 Feb
    Tiffany Peoples, you sound kinda bitchy. This girl is a hot fuck that loves some girl on girl action.
    You cant fault a hoe for enjoying an adult beverage.
  7. 17 Thomas dimes 21 Apr
    Please understand this much before you berate me that I I no way an defending what wendy did. Wendy was an absolute mess but she was not always that way. Please in you anger know that she has nothing mean in her and at one time saved my life. She is never going to forgive herself and those of you who want blood will get it when she gets out because this will kill her. I prey that god has his hands no you wendy I miss you and I know worse heart
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    Person who does such acts should spend in prison for more than  just 10-25 years. Robbing 81-year old woman...I wonder what that person should have on mind to do that awful thing? Robbing 81 year old lady is even worse than killing. That person is cruel and has no dignity and respect to himself.

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    She should be executed immediately. Too many people on this planet as it is. She is not human, she is a pile of useless bio-matter.
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