A New York man, who served for 30 years in the US military, admited to the court that he was drunk when he plowed his truck into Mayo man John Heneghan and his wife Caitlyn Holtzman's car, last May, killing them instantly
A 59-year-old man who served in the US military for 30 years has pleaded guilty to drink driving and causing the crash the claimed the lives of Mayo man, John Heneghan and his wife in New York, in May 2019.
Dickie Winn, from Cohoes, NY, admitted in court, in Saratoga County, New York, that he was drunk and driving his truck recklessly. The 59-year-old crashed his Dodge Ram pick-up truck into the couple's Cadillac car, killing them instantly.
Heneghan (33) and his new wife Caitlyn Holtzman (32), from Pennsylvania, were traveling to a wedding in New York when Winn's Dodge Ram truck crashed into their car. The couple's vehicle was stopped at a red light at the time of the accident. The couple died at the scene and the three other passengers who were in the car with the couple also sustained injuries.
Winn's blood alcohol reading was twice the legal limit on the night of the incident. The police reported that Winn had a blood alcohol concentration of .16 percent at about 3:00 Saturday afternoon, May 25, when he lost control of his truck.
In court, he pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide. In return, he has been promised between six and 19 years in prison, as opposed to the maximum sentence of 25 he could have received.
Winn, who is due to be sentenced in November, remains free on $300,000 (€270,000) bail bond.
Winn, who served in the US Army for nearly 30 years and did several tours of duty, was ordered to surrender his driver’s license and will be on probation for three years on release. Winn is a decorated military veteran and according to published reports, is a recipient of the Bronze Star for Valor.
WNYT reported that Winn read a statement to the court admitting his actions on May 25.
"I left my lane of travel and crashed the truck into the driver's side of a black Cadillac which was stopped at the intersection," Winn said. "
As a result of my intoxication and reckless driving, I caused the death of John Heneghan and Caitlin Holtzman. I also caused serious physical injury to Luke O'Doherty, and Julia Staples."
In court, Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen said: "These were people who were on their way to celebrate the marriage of one of their friends and isn't it tragic that the decision Mr. Winn made resulted in two of them losing their lives."
Friends and family of the victims were in court to witness the proceedings, it was reported.
During an earlier court hearing, in May, Winn's lawyer had made an application for bail, pointing to the man's long military service. At the time John James Hughes responded refusing him bail and added: "There are two people dead".
John Heneghan, who had lived in the United States for a number of years, married Holtzman, from Pennsylvania, in 2016.
The Irish Independent reports that the other car passengers who suffered serious injuries were Julia Staples (24) and two other Irishmen Luke O’Doherty (25) and Enda Crowley (25).
Tragically the couple were cremated in June, following a service in Holtzman's native Pennsylvania. On June 30, in Henneghan's home town of Tourmakeady, in Mayo, a Mass was held in his honor. His family privately interred the ashes.