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Wrong way driver sentenced to less than maximum for manslaughter

by Jane Flasch

Rochester, N.Y. -- The man responsible for a fatal wrong way crash on December 14 will go to prison, but may be out in just over a year.

"We wanted the maximum," said Noreen Marcaitis Clarke, sister of the man who was killed. The maximum for manslaughter is five to 15 years. Donald Love was sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years.

Witnesses testified Love was speeding on Route 490, then exited in East Rochester where he blew a red light and drove the wrong way on Washington Street. It happened during the morning rush hour.

Several cars swerved, yet Love continued on causing a deadly crash.

The man driving the other car, John Marcaitis, was struck head on. He died at the hospital. "The deep scars for our family have remained," said his daughter Aleah. She spoke at the sentencing Wednesday.

The day before he died, John Marciatis picked up his son from one college, and called his daughter at another. Aleah had a final to get through before she would join her family for Christmas. They were full of plans.

"He was a great brother, a good friend, and awesome father and husband and he was senselessly killed," said Marcaitis Clarke.

Love was convicted of manslaughter for recklessly causing the crash. In court today both the judge and the defense attorney noted the verdict was unusual. Love, who has had a previously DWI was not speeding at the time of the crash and was not driving impaired by either alcohol or drugs.

Love took the stand at his trial and told jurors he was distracted. Because of his previous DWI he had an ignition intercept device on his vehicle. He claimed to jurors he was requiring him to give a breath test while driving and that caused the distraction.

Prosecutors refuted that claim at trial using with records from the device.

In court Aleah Marcaitis addressed the judge. "I wish for justice for all who have lost their loved ones. I want other girls to have their dads," she said.

Judge Alex Renzi said if he could base the sentence on the character of the man who was killed, he would call for the maximum. But that is not how the law works. "I have to look at what (his) actions were," he said.

"Something is better than nothing," said Richard Corrigan reacting to the sentence. He is the victim's brother-in-law. Asked if he would have liked a longer sentence he replied "Yes. But what would that accomplish? It doesn't bring John back."

Throughout the sentencing Donald Love sobbed quietly. He then read from a prepared statement.

"I have deeply hurt a familyI take full responsibility for my poor judgement," he said. "This is something God will judge me for. I am very, very sorry."

Love also asked for forgiveness.

The Marcaitis family is deeply religious. In a letter to the court Bethany Marcaitis wrote of her husband's death and said she had forgiven the man responsible.

Outside court Wednesday a relative who asked not to be named said 'They have forgiven him in hopes that he comes out of prison a much better man.

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Washington Times