There were tears of remembrance, sorrow and regret flowing Monday in a Washington County courtroom before a young woman learned she’d spend the next eight years in jail for killing a man while she was driving drunk — a wreck she still can’t recall.
Ashley Dawn Langworthy, 25, testified it took someone telling her over and over that she had killed a man and now she will remember what she did March 20 every day for the rest of her life.
She pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in October. The plea agreement included an eight-year prison sentence. Langworthy had a blood alcohol content of .18 after drinking two margaritas, three shots of tequila and two Smirnoff Ice that night, but has no memory of driving on State of Franklin, running off the road and slamming into an apartment building.
That apartment was where Glenn Edward Smith, 71, lived and that’s where he died that night with Langworthy’s pickup truck on top of him. Langworthy was driving a 2000 Dodge Dakota southbound on North State of Franklin March 20 when she failed to negotiate a curve as she approached Nathaniel Court near Briarcliff Apartments.
Police estimated her speed at 83 to 94 mph when she started braking. Langworthy’s tires left 185 feet of skid marks on the road where she began veering off the road.
For months after the crash, black tire marks on the road showed the path Langworthy’s pickup took as it veered off the road. The tire tracks disappeared where Langworthy’s truck went airborne. Her truck slammed into the apartment building and landed on top of Smith.
Langworthy tearfully apologized for her actions to Smith’s family when she took the stand.
Five of Smith’s six children testified also, with the majority asking Criminal Court Judge Robert Cupp for the maximum punishment for Langworthy.
Matthew Smith, Tammy McCorkle and Haley White all asked Cupp to put Langworthy in jail for as long as possible.
Each of Smith’s kids described him as a kind, gentle and loving person who had worked hard to raise them as a single father.
Two of Smith’s sons testified that they had met with Langworthy in the days preceding Monday’s hearing and believe her remorse. The men told Cupp they want Langworthy punished, but they don’t want that punishment to ruin her life.
“I want her to know what she did was wrong ... but I want her to come back from this,” said Smith’s oldest son, James Smith. “He would have forgiven that child,” he said of his father. “I want to see her pay, but I don’t want to see her destroyed.”
Langworthy told the court that her plans and dreams went down the drain the night she killed Smith.
Cupp commended Langworthy for her accomplishments — she graduated from Virginia Intermont College with an equestrian degree, was training horses and working at several area horse farms and she had joined the Army National Guard and was in Officer Candidate School.
Prior to the fatal wreck, Langworthy had only one speeding ticket, and little experience with alcohol, she said.
The building is repaired, but the area where the truck hit is obvious because the new bricks don’t match the old ones.
“It’s a shame to have to be reminded when you drive by that every day,” said Assistant District Attorney Dennis Brooks. “In this case, the only mistake the victim made was being at home,” he said.
While Cupp ordered Langworthy to serve the eight year sentence she accepted in her plea agreement, he also gave a break of sorts. Cupp told Langworthy he would keep her in Washington County to serve her sentence and at some point when she has served a portion of it, her attorney can ask the judge to look at the case again and she could be released early.
Cupp also said Langworthy can stay out of jail until after Christmas and ordered her to report to jail on Dec. 26.