Woman charged in fatal crash to serve up to 10 years in prison

June 22, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A woman charged in a vehicle crash that killed a motorcyclist last summer was ordered Tuesday to serve up to 10 years in state prison after she pleaded guilty to driving under the influence causing the man’s death.

Jessica Nicole Faircloth, 22, of Martinsburg, was sentenced by 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gray Silver III to the maximum two-to-10-year prison term as part of a plea agreement, according to Berkeley County Circuit Court records.

Faircloth, who has been incarcerated since last summer, was charged after the Honda Accord she was driving crossed the center line on W.Va. 45 and collided with a Triumph motorcycle ridden by David E. Kessel on July 15, 2010, according to the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department and court records.

After the crash, Faircloth tested positive for having benzodiazepine, cannabinoid and opiates in her blood, police have said.

Kessel, 51, of Spring Mills, W.Va., a farm loan manager with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency’s office in Martinsburg, was on his way to a dairy farm to count cows that were going to be milked, his wife said the day after the accident.

In a three-page letter filed with the court, Faircloth, who remains in Eastern Regional Jail, wrote that she couldn’t ask the victim’s family to forgive her because she had not found the strength to forgive herself.

“I know that you miss him so much and as crazy as it seems, every day I wake up in my cell, I wonder what he would be doing today,” Faircloth said in the letter.

In addition to hoping her sentencing would bring some amount of closure and peace to Kessel’s family, Faircloth apologized to her own children for the embarrassment and pain “I’ve caused you every night.”

Unrelated charges alleging Faircloth fraudulently used an access device were dismissed as part of the plea agreement, according to court records.

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