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Judge rejects plea deal in deadly Missoula DUI crash

By Will Wadley, KECI Weekend Anchor, wwadley@keci.com
Published On: Feb 21 2014 11:13:16 AM MST
Updated On: Feb 21 2014 10:17:07 PM MST
MISSOULA, Mont. -

A Missoula man was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison after a judge rejected a plea deal in a deadly Missoula DUI crash that killed one woman and injured her sister.

Roberta Demmert, 39, was killed in the crash, and her sister Pamela was seriously injured. The two women were walking on a sidewalk last year.

Prosecutors say Tom George Vineyard's blood alcohol content was nearly three times the legal limit at the time of the incident.

In a plea deal with prosecutors, Vineyard pleaded guilty to a charge of vehicular homicide while under the influence and negligent vehicular assault, but Judge Ed McLean rejected the 5-year sentence the deal called for, and gave Vineyard 30 years in the Montana State Prison, with 20 years suspended.

During the hearing, Vineyard's friends and family praised his character and asked the McLean for leniency, but the judge said 5 years wasn't a long enough sentence.

"When one decides to put himself in a totally inebriated state of point .239, and then negligently kills another human being, it just quite simply cannot be excused by the negligent person being an otherwise good human being."

Demmert's daughter Eleni Adams said she thinks Vineyard should serve more than 10 years.

"It's not enough to justify for our mom. It's her life, and us three children left behind. It's not fair," said Adams. "He had lots of witnesses, and all of them talked about him being the greatest ski instructor there is and him being caring in that particular way, but none of them really took into thought that we lost a mom."