Retired Judge Michael Galloway sentenced Wendy Morpas to three years incarceration with all but 18 months suspended followed by three years of supervised probation in a hearing Thursday.
The 28-year-old Florida man was found guilty on July 25 of one count of criminal negligent manslaughter by vehicle, as well as three related traffic citations after he ran a flashing red light on Feb. 19, 2016, while driving a tractor-trailer and collided with a vehicle driven by local bakery owner Jeannie Vogel, killing her.
"Things were irreparably, finally changed in an instant," Galloway said.
The judge said he did not believe Morpas acted with the intent to harm, but said, "the outcome is the same."
As a special condition of the probation, Morpas is prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle. In addition, Galloway imposed a fine of $1,000 and 300 hours of community service.
Morpas' attorney, Alexander Cruickshank, of the Carroll County Office of the Public Defender, requested that Morpas serve his sentence at a Division of Corrections facility rather than the Carroll County Detention Center. Galloway granted the request.
At the beginning of Thursday's hearing, Morpas addressed the court with an apology in which he spoke directly to Bernard Vogel, widower of Jeannie Vogel. Visibly emotional, Morpas said he did not expect Vogel to forgive him, but only asked that he accept his apology and said, "I take full responsibility for my actions."
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Senior Assistant State's Attorney Adam Wells asked Galloway to give Morpas jail time at the high end of Maryland sentencing guidelines. He said that because of the loss of life, "there [needs] to be consequences here."
The crash occurred shortly after 4 a.m. Feb. 19, 2016, when a tractor-trailer driven by Morpas, traveling west on Kate Wagner Road toward Md. 27, entered the intersection and struck Vogel's vehicle, which was traveling north on Md. 27 from her home on Nicodemus Road to her bakery in Westminster, causing both to catch fire. Vogel died at the scene; Morpas refused treatment at the scene.
Bernard Vogel delivered a victim impact statement illuminating the ways his life was changed when his wife was killed. He spoke of his personal pain and his children's in their "new reality" as well as the difficulty of his choice to give up his career and his financial security to keep his wife's bakery, JeannieBird Baking Co., open.
At the conclusion of the statement, he said he did not wish to live with anger anymore and gave Morpas his forgiveness.