Man sentenced for crash that killed Ole Miss siblings - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Man sentenced for crash that killed Ole Miss siblings

John Wheat, 30, (left), Sarah Wheat, 24, (right) John Wheat, 30, (left), Sarah Wheat, 24, (right)

(WMC-TV) - A man pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in the crash that killed two Ole Miss siblings in October 2012.

On Monday afternoon in Lafayette County Circuit Court, John Howard Strickland Jr. was sentenced to serve 12 years in jail with 13 years suspended for one count of aggravated DUI.

Siblings John and Sarah Wheat died after the vehicle Strickland was driving crossed the median and hit their car head on.

Strickland was under the influence of marijuana and had been huffing air dust canisters before the accident, according to investigators.

In a packed courtroom, Strickland apologized to the victims' family and said he often wishes he could have died rather than John and Sarah, whose family thinks the man behind the wheel deserves much more time behind bars.

"No, you don't have two of your children in a grave and it's closure, no," said Frances Wheat. "It's a hurt that will be there forever."

Frances' kids were leaders in the Ole Miss lacrosse community. Many of their teammates and friends were at the sentencing Monday, showing support for their friends' mother.

"Their support is huge," said Frances. "I mean, I get texts every day from wonderful folks, from Sarah and John's teammates and things like that and it does help a lot."

The Wheat family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Strickland's family in May 2012. They would not comment on that case.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

 

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