A Connecticut woman and her son avoided jail time Tuesday and were sentenced to three years probation for attempted insurance fraud and evidence tampering after a fiery wreck at the bottom of Avon Mountain that killed four people in 2005.
Donna and Shaun Wilcox of Windsor were also sentenced to 300 hours of community service in Hartford Superior Court. Judge David Gold ruled that neither deserved a fate as harsh as the six-year sentence he gave Donna Wilcox’s husband, David Wilcox, last week for manslaughter, assault and insurance fraud.
“I don’t think this is a case where the cover-up is any worse than the crime itself,” Gold said.
David Wilcox, owner of Bloomfield-based American Crushing and Recycling, put bad brakes on one of his vehicles and tried to reinstate insurance after it careened out of control down a steep hillside while carrying a load of dirt, tree trimmings and concrete. The truck’s driver and three others died and others were critically injured with 19 other vehicles, including a commuter bus, slammed into each other in the chaotic chain-reaction crash.
Killed in the crash were drivers Barbara Bongiovanni, 54, of Torrington; Maureen Edlund, 60, of Canton; and Paul A. “Chip” Stotler, 42, of New Hartford; and the truck driver, Abdulraheem Naafi, 41, of Hartford.
Donna Wilcox pleaded no contest to charges she tried to reinstate insurance coverage after the accident. Shaun Wilcox pleaded guilty to doctoring repair slips for the truck.
Prosecutors sought two years of prison for Donna Wilcox, 42, who they described as insensitive and unconcerned about the crash victims. They said she talked to her husband by telephone immediately after the crash, and then called the company’s insurance company to seek reinstatement of the truck’s policy and lied about not knowing about the crash.
Donna Wilcox sobbed as she apologized to Gold for her role in the crash.
“This whole thing has been a mess and I’ve been sorry from day one,” she said. “I never intended for anyone to die or get hurt.”
Prosecutors said that after the crash, Shawn Wilcox, 28, shredded documents that would have been reviewed by state inspectors and wiped clean a whiteboard that listed work that needed to be done on the company’s trucks.
“If I could change anything that happened that day, I would,” Wilcox said outside of the courtroom. “There’s no words that can describe the loss that happened that day and I just apologize to everyone who was involved.”
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