Sentencing of the automobile driver who struck and killed Harvard professor of psychiatry John E. Mack, M.D. on the night of September 27, 2004, took place earlier today in London at the Wood Green Crown Court.
Raymond Czechowski, 52, of Elstree, England, had earlier entered a plea of guilty “by careless driving whilst under the influence of alcohol”.
Dr. Mack’s family wrote to the Crown Court asking for leniency.
“Although this was a tragic event for our family, we feel Mr. Czechowski’s behavior was neither malicious nor intentional, and we have no ill will toward him since we learned of the circumstances of the collision,” the letter said. “We have had several talks as a family over the past year, and especially during these past few weeks as we anticipate the time for sentencing, and we all believe John Mack would not want Mr. Czechowski to go to jail. As for ourselves, our grief will not be lessened by knowing that he is incarcerated — in fact, we would wish that he not be.”
In pronouncing sentence today, Judge Linda Stern told Czechowki that she had considered “the most generous letter written by the family of Professor Mack,” but noted that a message must be sent that “you shouldn’t drive with alcohol in your blood.” Mr. Czechowski’s blood/alcohol level recorded at the time of the accident was 97mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood. The legal limit in the UK is 80mg.
Mr. Czechowski was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment and was disqualified from driving for 3 years. The Judge also ordered that before Mr. Czechowski was allowed to return to driving he must take an extended driving test. Because of time already spent in custody, Mr Czechowski will serve 6 months of the 15 month sentence.
Information from the family of John E. Mack, M.D. and the Associated Press was used in preparation of this report.