Driver sentenced in deadly drunken, high-speed Montgomery Co. crash

A Maryland man was sentenced Thursday for his role behind the wheel in a drunken, high-speed crash that killed a 20-year-old in Clarksburg last year.

Mario Sanchez, 44, learned that he will spend the next six years in prison for the crash that killed Ian McKenna on June 16, 2019, which was Father’s Day.

That day, Sanchez chose to drive home after having morning drinks with friends at the Little Bennett Golf Course. McKenna had just wished his dad a happy Father’s Day on the phone, and was running an errand for his mom to get kabob sticks at the grocery store.

That’s when prosecutors said Sanchez lost control of his Audi S6 and crossed into McKenna’s lane on Snowden Farm Parkway, hitting the younger man at about 113 mph in a 40 mph zone.

It is estimated that Sanchez had a blood alcohol content of .16, nearly double the legal limit in the state of Maryland.

Those affected by McKenna’s death and Sanchez’s actions took the stand to share the impact that crash had on their lives.

“I live in constant fear that something will happen to my friends, my family and especially my mother,” said McKenna’s sister through tears. “I know there are more Mr. Sanchezes out there.”

She said her brother dreamed of getting his commercial driver’s license and driving across the country with a husky by his side. She added that his friends were planning a party for his 21st birthday, which was a little more than a month away then.

“Ian’s passing left a hole in my heart that can never be filled. …the loss and pain is still unbearable,” said his father, Charles McKenna.

Sanchez, who is a married father of two, expressed his remorse in the sentencing hearing.

“The amount of guilt and sorrow I have cannot be described,” Sanchez told the McKenna family as he read a letter he wrote a day after the crash.

“We all want this day to have never have happened and for Ian McKenna to be with you here today,” Sanchez said, struggling through his emotions.

“This isn’t riding down a country road. This road has many houses,” Judge David Lease said of Snowden Farm Parkway, where the crash happened. “That, to me, is what really drives this case because I believe the main contributing factor to young Mr. McKenna’s death was speed. I think alcohol certainly contributed to it.”

Sanchez faced a maximum of 10 years in prison for the charge of manslaughter. He’ll serve the maximum sentence, all but six years suspended, with six months parole and community service once he’s released.

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