State appeals court denies Lancaster man’s request for relief of sentence in DUI accident that killed one woman

Carlos R. Garcia

LANCASTER — A state appeals court denied an inmate’s request for relief from a prison sentence for drunk driving stemming from a 2014 fatal accident, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.

Carlos Garcia, 36, pleaded guilty to DUI in the Feb. 22, 2014 crash that claimed the life of 24-year-old Kaitlyn Berry and seriously injured her mother, Lisa Stamper.

He was sentenced to a 19 1/4 to 38-year prison term.

Garcia filed a request to withdraw his plea, arguing that he didn’t realize a judge could order consecutive sentences on the charges. He also argued that his attorney misrepresented what the potential sentence could be.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court recently denied the request, finding that Garcia was aware the charges could be sentenced consecutively. Garcia, the Court said, signed paperwork regarding that and was told he faced a potential maximum term of 53 years.

Regarding Garcia’s second claim, the high court found, his attorney mentioned potential sentence terms, but Garcia was aware the sentence was fully up to the judge.

The 2014 accident occurred on the 1300 block of East King Street. Garcia veered into the opposing lane and struck Stamper’s vehicle nearly head on. His 7-year-old son was a passenger in the car.

Berry was killed in the accident; Stamper was seriously injured.

Garcia was driving on a suspended license and his blood-alcohol level measured .144 percent shortly after the accident. The legal limit in Pennsylvania is .08 percent.

 

Assistant District Attorney Christine L. Wilson prosecuted the case.

Manheim Township police filed charges because the crash happened in Lancaster Township.