“I and I alone bear responsibility for the crash. I am willing to accept my punishment, hoping it can bring peace and healing to everyone.”
Daniel Haynes III
He was driving drunk at speeds of more than 100 miles an hour according to police. Daniel Haynes III, 30, of Virgil blew through a stop sign and hit a utility pole, killing his daughter Alexia, 6, and injuring her two sisters. None were buckled up.
In August, Haynes pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular manslaughter, with a possible sentence of 10-to-20 years in prison.
As part of the plea, Haynes promised to not be arrested again before sentencing. Less than two weeks after the plea he violated an order of protection. In court, he admitted he did not live up to the plea agreement.
Because of that, Cortland County Court Judge William Ames did not have to abide by the agreed-upon sentence. At 11:10 am, he sentenced Haynes to a 10-1/2 to 21 year prison term.
Prior to sentencing, Cortland County District Attorney Mark Suben said he hopes this case can deter others from driving drunk.
Judge Ames agreed with that sentiment during his remarks. He hoped media coverage would discourage people from drinking and driving, but worries “the slaughter on our highways continues.”
Suben read a letter from Alexia’s maternal grandparents and other family members saying they could never forgive Daniel and that it was time he took responsibility for his actions. They wrote they feel pain and emptiness every day and that Daniel, as the father, betrayed the trust of his children.
“This was not an accident, this tragedy could have been avoided.”
Letter to court from Alexia’s maternal extended family
Alexia’s mother, Ashley Ingraham, had asked to speak to the court, but declined when offered the opportunity.
Through all of the statements, Haynes kept his head bowed.
His attorney, Emil Rossi, of Syracuse, observed that in the 17 months since the accident, there wasn’t a “single good moment, or any moment of peace.” Rossi added that Daniel Haynes’ plea may have provided at least some relief to everyone affected.
Haynes wept as he spoke briefly, saying, “I and I alone bear responsibility and that he was willing to accept my punishment, hoping to bring peace and healing to everyone.”
“Mr. Haynes, you will get through this and it will be horrible. You need to decide what you are going to do with the rest of your life.”
Cortland County Court Judge William Ames