Drunk driver that killed man on I-40 asks for suspended sentence - WKRN News 2

Drunk driver that killed man on I-40 asks for suspended sentence

Katrina Cornwell Katrina Cornwell
Eddy McCreery Eddy McCreery
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A drunk driver who struck and killed a tow truck worker while he was helping a stranded driver was back in Davidson County Court Friday to ask a judge to suspend the remaining seven years of a ten year periodic confinement jail sentence.

Katrina Cornwell pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide by intoxication and leaving the scene of an accident involving injury or death in June 2011. In October 2009, Cornwell struck and killed Eddy McCreery on Interstate 40 West near the Spence Lane exit as he attempted to tow his daughter’s disabled vehicle.

Cornwell kept driving, but was later arrested at Opry Mills Mall after police found her asleep inside her car.

As part of a plea agreement, Cornwell was sentenced to spend the week surrounding Christmas and the week surrounding Father’s Day in jail for ten years.

She must also speak to groups about the dangers of drinking and driving and attend at least four Alcoholics Anonymous meetings per week.

Cornwell petitioned the court to allow her to have her driver license restored and to have the remaining seven years of the periodic confinement suspended. That would allow her to forego spending a week surrounding Christmas and a week surrounding Father’s Day in jail.

She argued that while in jail, she is not provided with the mental health medication she takes, which causes her to suffer from withdraws.

Cornwell also told the court and presented a witness that testified that she has spoken to hundreds of teens about the dangers of drinking and driving on several occasions. That is more than the twice a year the court ordered in June 2011.

“I try in the speaking engagements to turn this tragedy into something positive,” she testified. “But the confinement in itself is doing no one any good. “

She continued, “I know what happened to me in my life pales in comparison to what has happened to the McCreery family. I know they will forever have an empty place intended for him it must be so hard at Christmas, Father’s Day and every day.”

McCreery’s daughter, Faith, testified about how her life was destroyed by Cornwell’s actions. She was on the interstate with her father when Cornwell struck him with her car.

“This is with me every day and knowing she is free to enjoy her life feels beyond unfair,” she said. “The fact that Katrina Cornwell feels she deserves a second chance with her life is absolutely absurd as I will never get a second chance with my father.”

A very emotional McCreery told the court following the wreck she was diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder and sought counseling because of what she witnessed. But, she said the images still haunt her.

“Sleeping peacefully is out of the question because every time I close my eyes I am once again on the side of the interstate as I hear his body hitting the pavement and seeing him lying there,” she said. “Last month was my fifth Father's Day without my father because Katrina Cornwell killed my daddy.”

McCreery’s widow Deena testified that Cornwell’s petition to have her jail time suspended was offensive to her and she wanted the judge to deny her request.

She asked that the judge require Cornwell have an ignition interlock device installed on her car before she could get a restricted driver license.

As part of sentencing in 2011, the judge said Cornwell could petition for a restricted driver license three years after her conviction.

“I’m sorry, six weeks is not enough time for her to think about what she has done to me and the rest of his family,” she said. “We have to live the rest of our lives without him, his smile, his laugh or his love.”

She continued, “At the very least she could live through this short ten years that she is sentenced to be forcefully reminded of what she has done.”

Judge Mark Fishburn denied Cornwell’s request to have her jail sentence suspended. He said he felt, as he did in 2011, the sentence was the best way to remind Cornwell of the impact of what she did to the McCreery family.

He did grant her request to have a restricted driver license. She must have an ignition interlock device installed on her vehicle.

Cornwell declined to comment after the court hearing.

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