Reading a letter written by his wife before she died, Andrew McCosh described how life had changed for the couple after a crash left her a quadriplegic.
The once-active 63-year-old said the May 2009 crash ruined her life as she knew it. Her days started and ended with a caregiver. She couldn't sing or perform or take walks or do yoga anymore; she couldn't even wash her own hair.
She and her husband, retired teachers from Stewartstown, saw their marriage dissolve into a caregiver-and-dependent relationship. He would get angry and depressed for days, and sometimes she didn't think she could go on, he read from the letter.
Two months after she wrote the September 2010 victim statement, Jacqueline L. McCosh died at York Hospital of pneumonia due to quadriplegia because of a cervical-spine fracture incurred in the crash.
Driver sentenced: The posthumous letter was read in court Tuesday during the sentencing of Adam Hendrick Kaisler, 23, of Hopewell Township. He pleaded guilty last month to all charges related to the May 20, 2009 crash, including homicide by vehicle, reckless endangerment and speeding and summary violations.
Though he could have faced as much as seven years in prison if convicted of the felony homicide charge, Kaisler's plea deal with the York County District Attorney's Office called for less than two years. Chief deputy prosecutor Tim Barker said Andrew McCosh wanted the deal and wanted Kaisler to be entered into a program where he could get help for reckless driving.
Common Pleas Judge John S. Kennedy sentenced Kaisler to 1 year minus 1 day to 2 years minus 2 days in York County Prison and three years of probation and ordered him to undergo drug and alcohol treatment. The judge also ordered him to serve 500 hours of community service at a residential facility for people with spinal cord injuries and attend the National Drag School Project, which teaches about the dangers of unsafe driving. He'll be an outmate, allowed to report to work at his job at an area Jiffy Lube.
That day: While the state said Kaisler's recklessness was the cause of the accident, defense attorney Farley Holt maintained that the rural Hopewell Township road had no painted center line and no posted speed limit. He said the stretch of road where the crash occurred had "horrible" visibility.
During a hearing earlier this year, former Maryland police officer David Evans testified he had been picking strawberries off Blevins Road when he saw a silver car approach the hill near the field.
He said he heard the car accelerate as it traveled up the hill, slow as it traveled around a curve and accelerate again before he heard it strike what he thought were trees.
Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Justin Feeney, who responded to the crash, testified that McCosh was trapped inside a white Toyota Prius and Kaisler was out of his vehicle, on the road, when he arrived on scene.
Although the road is not marked with lines, Feeney said there is enough room for traffic to travel in both directions. Both cars had been traveling in the middle of the road, he said.
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