CLEARFIELD – Emotions were running high in court Tuesday morning as the family of the victims in a fatal car crash explained how their lives had been changed by the incident.
In July of 2017, a Jeep Wrangler driven by Gregory Allen Millinder Jr., 33, of Madera was on state Route 53 in Woodward Township when it crossed the center line and struck two vehicles, according to testimony at a preliminary hearing on the case.
The impact killed 70-year-old Mary Teresa Caprio, who was a passenger in the second car, a 1957 Chevrolet BelAir that was struck head-on.
Millinder was found to be under the influence of amphetamine, methamphetamine and Clonazepam.
Tuesday Millinder was in court to plead guilty to homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence and aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI.
Caprio’s daughter, Becky Proctor, expressed her feelings about losing her mother.
“I was asked to fill out a victim impact statement. Wasn’t it obvious?” she asked.
“He murdered my mother, and forever altered my being,” she said.
She detailed how she felt when she got the call about the accident and rushed to Altoona Hospital only to wait for hours before hearing her mother was gone.
Gary Stover, who was the driver in Caprio’s vehicle, suffered serious injuries that his family said changed him from a healthy 71-year-old man into someone needing care. He is now trying to find ways to pay his substantial medical bills.
Stover himself stated that Millinder “murdered her by car.”
The couple whose vehicle, a 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, was struck first, Susan and Daniel Gillette, were also on hand in court.
Susan spoke about how the two couples enjoyed going to car shows and how he “broke us” when he took Caprio away.
She couldn’t believe that the woman who had just sat across from her at dinner that day was gone so quickly.
Daniel commented that this incident was preventable because Millinder chose to put chemicals in his body to “feel good,” and was not caring about others.
The Gillette’s daughter, Kelly Walker, noted that if her father had not been a good driver and quick to swerve his vehicle, she would be standing in Proctor’s shoes.
When her parents were discharged from the hospital in Altoona, she said it took two hours to get home because her mother would not let her drive faster than 10 miles under the posted speed limits.
She also commented that Millinder’s family was saying on social media that the accident was the fault of the victims who were in his lane and “high.”
“They wouldn’t drive those cars in the rain” and certainly wouldn’t drive them while under the influence, she said.
A few of the speakers mentioned that Millinder was also being reckless when he put his 8-year-old daughter in the car with him. Neither she nor Millinder suffered injuries, according to previous reports.
As the families spoke, Millinder’s head was down and he looked as if he might be getting sick.
When he had a chance to speak, he apologized, acknowledging that there was nothing he could say to make up for what he had done.
He took responsibility and stated: “I hope my punishment will help you find peace.”
His attorney, David Shrager, asked President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman to find a balance “between justice and mercy.”
Others were on hand to show support of Millinder, saying he has made changes to be on a better path and has been attending church regularly.
Millinder was sentenced to a total term of six to 15 years in state prison by Ammerman.