NORTH POTOMAC, Md. — A woman from Nashville, Tenn. has been sentenced to 6 years in prison for driving while intoxicated, leading to the deaths of a couple from North Potomac.
Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy announced the sentencing of 39-year-old Rebecca Vo at a news conference Friday evening.
Vo pleaded guilty on two counts of gross negligent manslaughter by vehicle for the deaths of Pran and Pamela Sharma who died from injuries sustained in a crash that happened last March.
"This is not a joyous occasion," McCarthy said, noting that crashes like this are preventable by calling a designated driver.
According to the state's attorney's office, the collision occurred at around 8:30 p.m. on March 27, 2021 at the intersection of Darnestown Road and Blackberry Drive in North Potomac.
The Sharmas were driving west on Darnestown road, returning from visiting family who lived a couple miles away, investigators said. Vo, driving a 2017 BMW i3, was driving east on Darnestown Road approaching Blackberry Drive.
When the Sharmas — driving a 2018 Rav4 — were making a left turn into a residential area on Blackberry Drive, they were struck by Vo and their vehicle"rotated clockwise, struck the curb, rolled onto it's driver's side, and came to rest back on it's wheels," investigators said.
Pran Sharma, who was driving the Toyota, and Pamela Sharma, the passenger, both suffered traumatic, life-threatening injuries following the crash and were taken to the hospital.
Pamela Sharma died from her injuries on March 28. 2021 at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda. Her husband died from his injuries on March 30, 2021 at Inova Fairfax Hospital. More specifically, per a medical examination, Pran Parma's "cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and thorax and the manner of death was accident."
McCarthy said Vo was administered a breath test two hours after the crash and she had a blood alcohol level for .013 — 0.08 is Maryland's legal limit. McCarthy added that Vo was driving.
Mike Polcsa, a detective from Montgomery County Police Department's Collision Reconstruction Unit, investigated the crash and determined Vo's speed played a major factor in the impact of the crash. A momentum analysis between the Toyota and BMW suggested "impact speed for the BMW was approximately 66 miles per hour" and that's likely an underestimate. The speed limit for the area of the crash was 30 miles per hour.
McCarthy said, "Nobody wins in cases like this.” He hopes this case is a lesson about the importance of calling a ride share service, friend or family member instead of getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while drunk.
The Sharmas were beloved, McCarthy said, and their deaths have brought grief to many people.
"These were wonderful people who reached out to other people in the community," he said.
Neil Sharma, the son of Pran and Parma Sharma, described the sentencing as "a tragic day for everyone involved."
“There are no words to describe the profound loss that we’ve experience…our children we robbed of their grandparents,” Neil Sharma said. "One bad decision can lead to catastrophic consequences."
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