Woman Sentenced in Drunk Driving Case

by NBC10/AP | Dec 18, 2004
Woman Sentenced in Drunk Driving Case Amid tears, anger and embraces, Carlitta Scarborough headed to prison for at least a decade Friday, leaving behind her own shattered family and that of the two women she killed in a drunken driving crash last year.

The judge warned before he handed down Scarborough's sentence that it would not feel like closure for either family, both afflicted by drug and alcohol abuse and still reverberating from the May 28, 2003, collision that slammed their lives together.

That day, Scarborough, 36, of Winslow Township, learned her 12-year-old son's cancer was getting worse and he would almost certainly die from the disease.

As she contemplated planning a funeral for a second child -- her daughter, Tameka, died at 5 after a fall from playground equipment -- Scarborough drank.

Then, she drove.

When she sped past a stop sign in Franklin Township, the Ford Explorer she was driving crashed into a minivan. The two women inside, Diane Hughes, 40, of Elk Township, and her mother, Maryanne LaCivita, 61, of Washington Township, were both killed.

Since then, Scarborough's son, Izaiah, has died. Hughes' husband, Bill, has drunk heavily himself and two of her sons were suspended from school for smoking marijuana. One of them was also placed on probation for a year after a police officer found marijuana seeds and stems in his van.

In a courtroom packed with the family of Scarborough and her victims Friday, there was talk of remorse and justice, forgiveness, family -- and the toll of substance abuse.

Bill Hughes, 45, demanded Superior Court Judge John Tomasello harshly punish the drunken driver for killing his mother-in-law and his wife of 18 years. Hughes decided at the last minute not to read the part of the statement he had typed out in which he planned to call for "an eye for an eye."

"Could any number I impose on Mrs. Scarborough satisfy Mr. Hughes? I think not," Tomasello said. "Should it? Probably not."

He gave a sentence that bars any chance of parole for Scarborough for more than 10 years and noted that the sentence is longer than others meted out recently in southern New Jersey for similar crimes.

Sheriff's officers were careful to separate the two families as they left the courtroom.

Richie Hughes, Diane's 17-year-old son, was restrained by a relative as he left the courtroom.

After the sentencing, Bill Hughes explained why he and his son were unhappy that Scarborough, who has five surviving children between the ages of 7 and 20, would not be locked up longer.

"She has young kids," he said. "I was hoping she would spend enough time in jail that she wouldn't have anything to do with their upbringing at all."

But down the hall from where Hughes spoke, the two families shared their sorrow.

Margie O'Brien, LaCivita's sister, and Ricki Scarborough, the driver's husband, hugged and cried.

"Call me if you want to pray," she told him.

"I'm sorry, so sorry," he said, his eyes red and tears streaking down his face. "I pray for your family."

Judge Tomasello described Scarborough as an alcoholic in denial.

Scarborough, who last month pleaded guilty to two counts each of aggravated manslaughter and vehicular homicide as well as drunken driving and traffic offenses, directed her words in court to the family of her victims.

"I feel the pain I inflicted in you, I feel the pain of the loss of your child," she said.

Then, she referred to what Bill Hughes had told The Philadelphia Inquirer for a story published Thursday. In the article, he said he had drunk until he passed out on his wife's grave.

"You admitted yourself in the paper, you had to have a drink. You just couldn't cope. Look what's happening to this society," she lamented.

Hughes' son Richie alluded to his binges on brandy and marijuana after his mother's and grandmother's deaths when he addressed the court.

"Yeah, I've had some problems since they were taken," he said. "But what can I say? They were the two most important people in my life."

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Author: NBC10/AP


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