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A Dover Township woman whose husband was killed two years ago when she crashed their car into a utility pole while drunk must spend at least three years in prison.

Lisa Sheaffer, 51, of Willow Tree Lane, appeared before presiding Common Pleas Judge Gregory M. Snyder on Monday, April 22, for sentencing after a jury found her guilty on Jan. 24.

She was convicted after a two-day trial of felony homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence. Jurors also convicted her of DUI and the summary traffic violations of careless driving causing an unintentional death, careless driving and disregarding a traffic lane. 

Snyder on Monday sentenced her to three to six years in state prison and ordered her taken to prison immediately, according to court records.

Her defense attorney, Tom Kelley, said she has been devastated by her husband's death.

"She's heartbroken. ... She feels like she lost the love of her life," Kelley said. "She's had a very difficult time since (the crash). The one person she would have turned to for help is deceased."

Senior deputy prosecutor Jared Mellott has said jurors deliberated for about 45 minutes before finding Sheaffer guilty.

The background: Northern York County Regional Police said Sheaffer told them she drank five or six Miller Lites before driving herself and he husband home from a party on April 29, 2017.

She crashed their black 2000 Saturn LS in the area of Harmony Grove Road and Sky Top Trail in Dover Township, which caused the death of her 54-year-old husband, Lorne Dean Sheaffer, according to court documents.

Mellott said the main issue was whether Lisa Sheaffer was legally justified in driving drunk. Her husband wasn't feeling well, and Lisa Sheaffer wanted to go home to get the numbers for his specialists, he said.

Mellott said Lisa Sheaffer had a phone with her at the party, as did others, and could have called 911 from there.

Responding officers found the Sheaffers' car 100 feet off the road in a tree line at the bottom of an embankment.

A good Samaritan had pulled Lisa Sheaffer out of her car, and her husband was later extricated from the wreckage by firefighters, according to police. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Struck utility pole: An autopsy confirmed he died of multiple trauma injuries caused by the crash, according to the York County Coroner's Office.

Police said Lisa Sheaffer was driving 56 mph in a 40 mph zone, while drunk, when she struck a utility pole.

Mellott said evidence showed she was still going that speed just before the crash.

Results from her blood test showed her blood-alcohol level was 0.12%, court documents state. Her blood was drawn shortly after the crash, according to police.

In Pennsylvania, an adult is driving drunk at 0.08%.

Lisa Sheaffer told officers at the scene that she and her husband were at a party before the crash, according to officials.

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She said her husband wasn't feeling well and was sleeping in the car during the party, according to police.

Lisa Sheaffer told police her husband had a heart condition, and she was going to call his doctors at Hershey Medical Center to see where he should be taken for treatment, which was why she didn't call for an ambulance at the party, documents state.

Mellott said Lisa Sheaffer indicated that she didn't think other local hospitals could take care of him.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

 

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