UPDATE: Seven Courts Hit-and-Run Driver Sentenced 18 Months
The Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office originally requested a 10-year sentence for David Grayson French Jr., who has a history of alcohol related crimes.
Ten months after a woman was struck and killed while crossing Seven Courts Drive, the driver responsible has been sentenced.
The Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office, however, expressed disappointment at Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Cox's ruling, handed down on Nov. 1. The requested 10-year prison sentence for David Grayson French Jr. was reduced to 18 months, followed by four years of supervised probation and 100 hours of community service, according to Michael Fuller, a Baltimore County assistant state's attorney.
"I asked for 10 years because I felt the crime was horribly egregious," Fuller said. "The defendant had a prior alcohol related conviction and another alcohol related arrest a month prior. The facts in the case were clear."
Fuller said several friends and family members of 68-year-old victim Beverly Moore attended the sentencing hearing. Many had also submitted letters about the hit-and-run's devastating impact on the community, he said.
Community members had long speculated that the driver responsible for Moore's death was under the influence of either drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, shortly after 7 p.m. on Jan. 22.
"Unfortunately, the fact that it was a hit-and-run means it's impossible to determine if drugs or alcohol were a factor," Fuller said in September.
Moore was a resident of Bourbon Court in Perry Hall and an active member of the neighborhood.
Shortly after 7 p.m. on Jan. 22, Moore was carrying groceries from a shopping trip at Weis Markets when a vehicle stopped to allow her to cross near the intersection of Lincolnshire Court. A Ford 500 sedan, driven by French, swerved around the vehicle and struck and killed Moore. It then left the scene and turned westbound on Joppa Road, according to police
With the help of an anonymous tip, police located the Ford 500 sedan in the 1600 block of Denise Drive in Bel Air on Feb. 1, near a residence of French. Weeks later, police confirmed the investigation has been turned over to the Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office.
Months passed and frustration among Moore's neighbors grew as the investigation wore on.
"Everybody was waiting for answers," said Charlie Armetta, a friend and neighbor of Moore. "Everybody wanted to know if they would catch him."
On the one-month anniversary of her death, neighbors said an arrest in the case would bring some consolation to the grieving neighborhood.
"We still feel the sadness. It's just so hard for us to understand how this happened," said Cindy Hill, who knew Moore for more than 20 years.
The public outcry that followed Moore's death drew attention to problems with speeding and recklessness on Seven Courts Drive.
Initially, the Parkville police precinct stationed additional police officers along the roadway. A speed display device was later temporarily installed, followed by a permanent speed camera in Seven Oaks Elementary's school zone.
Nearly 12 weeks after Moore's death, police announced charges against 25-year-old French, a resident of the unit block of Sandstone Court in Perry Hall, as well as the 1600 block of Denise Drive in Bel Air.
State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger told Patch that the lengthy investigation was the result of gathering "enough evidence."
Neighbors of Moore expressed relief after the arrest, but continued to grieve. "So many people have suffered from this, so many," Hill said.
Do you agree with the sentence? Tell us how the hit-and-run case impacted the larger Perry Hall community in the comments.