The attorney for a Springfield Township man accused of killing his wife in an alcohol-fueled crash said he's hoping to resolve the case without a trial, in a way that's best for the couple's children.
James Edwin Parker Jr., 33, of 8531 Yellow Church Road, remains free on recognizance bail, charged with homicide by vehicle while DUI, driving under the influence and driving in the wrong lane.
State police allege he caused a crash over Labor Day weekend that killed his wife, 33-year-old Kellie Sue Parker.
"It's my hope we can find a satisfactory outcome that does not involve a trial," defense attorney Chris Ferro said.
'Tragedy': Three minor children lost their mother, he said, and could potentially lose their father for a time as well.
"It's a tragedy," Ferro said, adding he hopes for a resolution that's in the children's best interests.
Chief deputy prosecutor Tim Barker agreed the children will factor into any discussions about a plea agreement.
"We're trying to figure out what's appropriate," he said. "We're not seeking to have an overwhelming negative impact on families, and we're sensitive to the issue involving children."
But the charge of homicide by vehicle while DUI carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of three years.
"So, of course, when you have a non-discretionary mandatory sentence, it greatly impacts the choices in sentencing on a defendant," Barker said.
Not the rule: The only way to get around the three-year minimum is to drop the charge, he said.
"That has been done in the past under specific circumstances. However, there are many factors that go into that consideration," Barker said. "It is the exception, not the rule."
Factors to consider include public safety, the amenability of the defendant to rehabilitation, his prior criminal record and the impact on victims or their survivors, according to Barker.
Court records show James Parker pleaded guilty to DUI in December 2002 for driving drunk in Shrewsbury Township.
Both Ferro and Barker said it's very early in the court process, and both said they are still trying to determine the best way to proceed.
The crash: James Parker was driving on Glen Rock Road (Route 216) near Yellow Church Road about 2:30 a.m. Sept. 4 when he lost control of a Honda Odyssey that went off the road and hit a tree, according to court documents.
Investigators found no skid marks to indicate he hit the brakes before the crash, documents state.
Kellie Parker was thrown from the minivan and later pronounced dead at the scene, officials said. Neither she nor her husband was wearing a seat belt, police said.
An ambulance took James Parker to York Hospital, where he was treated for injuries, police said. A trooper at the scene noted James Parker's speech was slurred and he smelled of alcohol, court documents allege.
Alcohol test: His blood-alcohol level was determined to be 0.244 percent, documents state -- more than three times the state's legal limit.
Investigators determined the Parkers had been at the Maryland Line Inn in Parkton, Md., prior to the crash, documents state.
The Parkers have two minor children, and Kellie Parker also has a minor child from a previous relationship, according to her obituary.
All three children remain with James Parker, Ferro said.
-- Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.