Relief is the word Ted Dobson used to describe the sentencing of the man who killed his daughter in a drunken driving crash on Route 7 in Sheffield on February 28, 2012.
”I often reconstruct the accident in my mind and think about Weller and his truck crushing Moira’s car, killing her," said Dobson.
Superior Court Judge John Agostini sentenced Frederick Weller, 36, to 15 to 18 years in prison for the crash that killed Moira-Banks Dobson, 24, of Sheffield and severely injured Russell Brown formerly of Great Barrington. Weller's truck landed on top of Moira's car after colliding head on with Brown's vehicle. Moira’s mother, Anne Banks, says Judge Agostini said this case was one of the worst drunk driving cases he had sat on and that Weller being sorry didn’t change the fact that he is a criminal. Weller pleaded guilty to driving drunk, his seventh such charge, along with seven others on Thursday. Dobson says he looks towards the state of Connecticut for not locking Weller up sooner and questions how a convicted drunk driver was able to “put a key in a vehicle and drive freely” that night.
“For too long this man’s been treated far too leniently by other jurisdictions," said Berkshire County District Attorney David Capeless.
Reverend Art Kaufman spoke in court on behalf of Weller after meeting him while he was being treated for injuries suffered during the crash at the Berkshire Medical Center. Kaufman says he was hoping Weller would receive a lesser sentence so he could prove to himself and the community that he is a changed man. Kaufman also said Weller’s children will suffer from their father’s sentencing.
“He has a 13-year-old and a 16-year-old who now will be without a father," said Kaufman.
Kaufman says Weller is sorry for what he did and will live with the fact that he’s responsible for the death of a young woman.
“That’s the other sentence that he’ll have to live with for the rest of his life which is probably more difficult than serving time in jail," said Kaufman.
Kaufman also questioned whether Weller being sent to prison provides justice.
“The question is will Fred serving whatever amount of years he’s going to have to serve at this point change that, and I don’t know if it will," said Kaufman.
Banks says the sentencing ends a period in the loss of her daughter.
“Everyone in my family is sentenced for life without our daughter," she said. "In that sense, this is a milestone, we can give closure to this chapter. We can move on in other ways.”
Dobson says he feels pity for the man who crippled Brown and ended his daughter’s life.
“He deserved not only 18 years, but 50 years," he exclaimed. "He took my daughter’s life. This wasn’t a random accident. This guy was a psychopath. He didn’t care about other people. That he cares now? Good! Wake up!"
Weller’s defense attorney Nathaniel Green could not be reached for comment in time for publication of this story. Weller will serve a maximum of 18 years at the Massachusetts State Correction Institute at Cedar Junction.