NORTH HAVERHILL, N.H. (AP) — A former Fortune 500 executive from New Hampshire was sentenced Thursday to between nine and 20 years in prison for causing a highway crash that killed a Vermont couple and their unborn fetus.
The Valley News of West Lebanon reported that Robert Dellinger, 54, was given credit for the 15 months he has spent in jail since the December 2013 crash, meaning he could be out in less than eight years.
Prosecutors said Dellinger was trying to kill himself when he drove his pickup truck across an Interstate 89 median in Lebanon and smashed into an SUV, killing 24-year-old Amanda Murphy, who was 8 months pregnant, and her fiance, 29-year-old Jason Timmons. The couple were from Wilder, Vermont.
In court, prosecutors said Dellinger's truck hit 101 mph in the seconds before the crash and was going 87 mph one second before he hit the SUV, shearing off its top. The medical examiner's report compared the injuries Murphy and Timmons suffered to those of plane crash victims. Dellinger suffered cuts and bruises.
Dellinger, who is from Sunapee, was a senior vice president and chief financial officer at PPG Industries Inc. when he left in 2011 because of health problems. He also held high-level posts at Sprint Corp., Delphi Corp. and General Electric Co.
He pleaded guilty in February to negligent homicide and assault. He was sentenced to 3½ to 7 years on the assault charge in connection with the death of the fetus, but the judge suspended the sentence.
Prosecutors were seeking 12 to 24 years in prison, while Dellinger's attorneys asked for a more lenient sentence.
The Valley News reported that relatives of the victims declined to comment as they left court.
On the first day of the two-day sentencing hearing, Dellinger told the court he was not suicidal. His lawyers have said Dellinger was suffering from delirium due to a "toxic regime" of prescription medications for multiple sclerosis and depression. They also contend he was suffering from withdrawal of a sleeping aid.
On Wednesday, Dellinger apologized to the victims' families, sobbing as he said: "I am so sorry. My guilt and remorse will be with me forever. I ask for your forgiveness, and I pray for your healing."
Family members lashed out, saying their loved ones had been stolen from them and calling Dellinger "heartless."