The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

March 5, 2013

Driver sentenced in methadone-related crash

EBENSBURG — A Northern Cambria man was sentenced Tuesday to five to 12 years in state prison following the death of an elderly Alverda couple more than two years ago.

Michael Sherwood, 42, was behind the wheel of his pickup when it crossed the center line of Route 271 on Nicktown Hill and crashed into an oncoming vehicle driven by Richard T. Davis, 76.

A few hours earlier, Sherwood had received a methadone treatment at Alliance Medical Center in Richland Township. He was determined to be under the influence of methadone and other prescription drugs at the time of the crash.

Sherwood must begin serving his sentence March 15. In addition, Cambria County Judge Norman Krumenacker fined him $2,000 plus court costs and ordered restitution of $11,324 to be paid to Northern Cambria Borough and the victims’ family.

Krumenacker also ordered that through the 12 years of the sentence, including any time on parole, that Sherwood have no drugs or alcohol and avoid any establishments were alcohol is served.

“No drugs, no alcohol. Your days at the methadone clinic are done,” the judge said. “Unless it’s an aspirin, it

doesn’t go in your mouth.”

Lois Davis, 69, a passenger, died at the scene. Richard Davis died two weeks later at Memorial Medical Center in Johns-town.

Authorities said both died of blunt force trauma.

A second passenger in the Davis vehicle, Orlando Veltre, also of Alverda, was injured.

Sherwood suffered a broken neck in the crash.

Kimberly Davis, one of two daughters to testify about the impact of the loss of their parents, said her father made it through what was to have been the first of a number of surgeries, then found out his wife had died.

“From that point on, he refused to open his eyes or talk. We believe he gave up, and two weeks later he died,” she said.

The daughters said they are most distraught about Sherwood’s apparent lack of remorse.

“At the preliminary hearing, his words were, “What about me and my injuries?” Mary M. Davis said.

Prior to the sentencing, Sherwood, standing beside defense attorney Thomas Dickey of Altoona, addressed the Davis sisters and Veltre.

“I’m very sorry for what happened to your family. It is my fault,” he said. “I am truly sorry.”

Assistant District Attorney Gary Jubas said the sentence was the result of a plea agreement.

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