CLEARFIELD – A Morrisdale woman pleaded guilty to homicide by vehicle during sentencing court Tuesday.
Rhonda Paige Maines, 20, was traveling home when her Ford Focus struck Boyd Shirey, 77, while he was trying to remove a dead deer from Deer Creek Road in Graham Township at 9:15 p.m. on Aug. 10, 2017.
She then left the area. Police later discovered the driver of the vehicle that hit Shirey was Maines.
On Tuesday, Judge Paul E. Cherry sentenced her to 11.5 months to two years less one day in the county jail and three years consecutive probation.
Prior to sentencing, a relative of the victim addressed the court asking why she didn’t stop and call for help.
She said it was “unacceptable” that Maines did not stop and commented that she had taken a husband, brother and grandfather from the family.
Joshua Maines, the attorney representing Rhonda Maines, explained that she has been “severely emotional” and regrets that this happened.
There is not a day that she and her family doesn’t think about him and pray for them, he said.
It was dark and she was not able to see him, and an accident occurred, he said, noting that an accident reconstructionist determined she was not speeding.
“She is an exemplary person. She is here on one decision she made, and if she could go back, she would stop,” he said.
When Cherry asked if she had anything to say, she said no. He then asked her if she could say the “two little words: I’m sorry.”
Joshua Maines then explained that she has expressed deep regret but is not the type of person to speak in public.
In determining her sentence, Cherry stated that he had to consider that a life was taken away, and not stopping was her choice.
“Whether that would have saved him or not, I don’t know,” he commented.
Cherry also mentioned that he had to consider the fact that she had no prior criminal record.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, Rhonda Maines told the investigating officers that she was on her way home when she struck something, but she thought it was a deer.
She didn’t stop because she panicked and just wanted to go home, she said.
After she got home, she thought about what she hit and realized it was wearing blue pants and a gray shirt. It was then she reportedly realized she hit a man.
The county coroner said that the accident was “near the part of the roadway where there is a hill that is difficult to see over,” according to media reports.