Saturday, August 30, 2014

Estell Manor Woman Sentenced to 9-years in Prison for 2008 Fatal Crash

MAYS LANDING – A 52 year-old Estell Manor woman was sentenced today to 9 years in state prison in connection with a 2008 fatal two-car collision that left one woman dead and three others injured, Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain announced.
On Oct. 31, 2008, New Jersey State Police responded to County Road 557 Milepost 14.6 for a reported two-car motor vehicle accident.
The investigation determined that Diane L. Williams, then 46 years old, of the 100 block of 8th Avenue, Estell Manor, NJ, was driving southbound on County Route 557 in Estell Manor when she struck a guardrail, rebounded back across the double-yellow center line, and collided with a second vehicle moving in the opposite direction. The passenger side of Williams’ vehicle impacted the front-end of the second vehicle.

Williams’ passenger, Lester Thomas, 44, was hospitalized with serious injuries. The driver and two passengers in the second car were also injured. One of those passengers, Estella Mills, 84, of Dorothy, died in the hospital 8 days later from injuries sustained in the accident.
Williams was charged on Apr. 6, 2009 with vehicular homicide, for “driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and operating the motor vehicle in a reckless manner, resulting in a fatal motor vehicle accident.”
On February 2, 2012, an Atlantic County Grand Jury indicted Williams for one (1) count of vehicular homicide—a 2nd degree crime, and three (3) counts of assault by auto—a 4th degree crime.
On June 18, 2014, an Atlantic County jury found Williams guilty of all counts.
The defense had conceded during trial that Williams was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident, but argued to the jury that the driver was not Williams, but rather her injured passenger, Lester Thomas, citing the presence of Lester Thomas’s blood on both the passenger and driver sides of the vehicle as evidence.
The State, however, presented physical and testimonial evidence—including the testimony of Lester Thomas, expert accident reconstruction and medical evidence, and Diane L. Williams’ own statements to State Police the night of the accident—that placed the seriously injured Thomas on the heavily-damaged passenger side of the car, and Williams behind the wheel.
Today, Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Kyran Connor sentenced Diane L. Williams to a total of 9-years incarceration in New Jersey State Prison. Under the state’s sentencing act known as the No Early Release Act (N.E.R.A) Williams will be required to serve 5 years and 10 months prior to parole eligibility.
Assistant Prosecutor Seth Levy represented the State in the matter.

Anyone with information involving serious crimes is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page. People can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.


Anonymous said...

5 years and 10 months (or even if she did the max of 9 years) doesn't seem like much for someone who killed one person and injured three others...while driving under the influence of alcohol

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