The Associated Press has reported that though a former Marine has pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter, the wife of the descendent feels better knowing that part of the Marine's plea deal allows for him to enter a facility to treat his post-traumatic stress disorders brought on by his tour in Iraq.
While driving in the wrong direction on Interstate 275, S.S., 38, crashed head-on into a vehicle driven by P.R., 48, in 2010.
S.S.'s lawyer claimed that his client suffered with both PTSD and a brain injury that he obtained during his tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. The case has caused the military to acknowledge that more thoroughness is required in evaluating and treating its members that suffer with PTSD.
P.R.'s widow, C.R., was also in the vehicle with her husband during the crash. She told reporters, through a Spanish interpreter, that she had agreed to the plea deal. C.R. said, "My husband is now dead. There's nothing anyone could do, and so the only thing I could do is to provide relief to his family, to provide relief to the pain they're going through. And that makes me feel like a better person."
C.R. hugged S.S.'s mother after the court session ended.
A Marine will be escorting S.S. to a treatment facility in Maine. S.S. has already served 363 days, and since the judge sentenced him to a year, the days have been credited. Following his time at the treatment facility, S.S. will return home for two years of house arrest and 12 years of probation.
John Fitzgibbons, S.S.'s defense attorney, said, "…Mrs. (C.R.) could not have been more compassionate or shown more dignity than she did in this case. Everyone involved in this case is a casualty of war. Capt. (S.S.) was a normal individual when he volunteered for the Marines shortly after 9/11. He came back a changed man because of his war injuries."
S.S. left the Marines with three Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for heroism; however, he also received a 100 percent disability rating.
Fitzgibbons added, "The command investigation that followed this tragedy is in the process of changing the way that every Marine returning to America is evaluated…"
Nearly 900 pages have been amassed by the Marine Corps investigators in their report and include suggestions for change due to the S.S. case. Col. J.P.C., a Marine Corps Reserve, wrote, "This investigation reveals a disturbing vulnerability in the support we provide our combat veterans suffering the invisible wounds of PTSD..."
Details of many of the upsetting events witnessed by S.S. are recounted in the report. His command in Iraq documented their concern as well, and, after an assessment he was found to have "mild deficits."
S.S. was sent to a wounded warrior battalion in California, then later, to Tampa for a desk assignment.
The accident occurred two days following his arrival in Tampa.
Contact a DUI attorney for any charges related to DUI, DWI, OUI or OWI. A qualified DUI attorney is best suited to manage the circumstances of your situation.