Relatives of two people killed in a car crash expressed frustration and anger Monday that the driver who caused the accident will serve only community service and probation.
The unusually light sentence for the driver, Kathy Horan, 62, and her husband, Frank Horan, 69, of Medford was the result of a wrinkle in the law that made it difficult to make the charges of leaving the scene of a fatal accident stick against either of them.
Suffolk prosecutors say Kathy Horan was driving when she hit a car involved in an earlier accident on Granny Road in Medford. Peter Quoma, 28, of Selden, had stopped after hitting a parked car owned by Lynn May, 58, of Lake Grove. Horan’s car hit Quoma, killing him, and pinned May against her car. She died eight days later.
Horan and her husband got out of their car, briefly looked at the damage and then left, with Frank Horan taking over the driving, prosecutors have said. The crash was an accident, but leaving the scene was a crime.
Kathy Horan caused the crash but was not the one who drove away from it. Frank Horan, on the other hand, drove away from the scene but had not caused the crash, so defense attorneys argued that neither Horan left the scene of an accident they had caused.
In January, Kathy Horan pleaded guilty to leaving the scene and Frank Horan pleaded guilty to criminal facilitation.
“When you guys left, you took the truth with you,” said Joseph Sweeney, May’s son. “One day, you’re going to have to answer for the blackness within you.”
May’s husband, Burt May, said he refused to feel ill will or hatred toward the Horans, “because it is not helpful for me.”
Quoma’s family, however, embraced their rage.
“I welcome that anger,” said Amanda McNamee, one of Quoma’s sisters. “I give it a red carpet, leading to my heart.”
She said it was outrageous that Quorma stopped to do the right thing after his crash, only to be killed by someone who refused to stay at the scene herself.
“Kathy Horan, you disgust me,” McNamee said. “Somehow, in her 60s, Kathy Horan cannot accept responsibility for her actions.”
She read a statement for her mother, Jan Quoma, while her mother stood next to her and glared at the Horans.
“The punishment should be so much more,” Jan Quoma said in a wavering voice, as her daughters pulled her away from the lectern.
Frank Horan told both families he felt “devastated” and apologized for his actions.
Kathy Horan offered “condolences for this tragic accident. I’m very sorry for the part I played in it.”
Defense attorney Brendan Ahern of Hauppauge said the couple have been “consumed by remorse,” even if that was not apparent in court.
As state Supreme Court Justice John Collins began to explain the legal weaknesses in the case that led to the sentence, Jan Quoma stood up and yelled, “That’s a crock of bull! To let this woman go with a slap on the wrist? . . . She has no remorse, none! She is evil.”
Collins finished his explanation, then sentenced Frank Horan to 280 hours of community service and three years probation, and Kathy Horan to 560 hours of community service, five years probation and a $5,000 fine. Collins promised both that if they violated probation, he would jail them.