NORWICH – After causing the death of his girlfriend and injuring two friends in a one-car drunk driving accident, Ryan V. Lewis, 23, Afton, pleaded guilty to the class E felony of vehicular assault in the third degree and the class A misdemeanor of driving while intoxicated on Nov. 22 of last year.
Lewis appeared in Chenango County Court on Nov. 7 before Judge Frank B. Revoir Jr. after completing one year of interim probation.
In 2013, Lewis was sentenced to one year of concurrent interim probation for both charges against him. He was told he could be sentenced up to “anything” if he did not comply with probation.
If he did successfully complete probation, his plea of guilty to the felony charge would be withdrawn and he would only be left with the misdemeanor. Since he completed interim probation, he is facing probation for the misdemeanor charge and up to 60 days of jail time.
“This case was a tragedy for the victims. The defendant hit black ice and as a result of drinking got into an accident that caused his girlfriend to be deceased and his two friends hurt,” said District Attorney Joseph A. McBride. “The victim's family were torn by the loss of their child and their concern for the defendant.”
It was Feb. 25, 2013 at approximately 2:20 a.m. when Lewis lost control of his 2006 Subaru Impreza. He was traveling north on Afton Lake Road and trying to negotiate a curve in the road when he hit black ice. The vehicle exited the roadway and struck a tree on the passenger side.
Joelyn L. Sines, 24, Harpursville, was in the front passenger seat during the impact. She was pronounced dead at the scene by Chenango County Medical Examiner David Hochmann. Backseat passengers, Mitchell D. Birch, 23, Afton, and Caleb J. Gregory, 23, Afton, were transported to Wilson Regional Medical Center in Johnson City and recovered from their injuries.
Lewis was also treated for non-life threatening injuries. His blood alcohol content was .12 of one percent of alcohol. After an investigation by the New York State Police, Lewis was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter.
McBride said Lewis successfully completed interim probation but that he knew he would be “doing some time” for what he did.
“He drove that car while under the influence. That poor girl died. He will have to live with that the rest of his life,” added McBride.