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Husband requests leniency for drunken driver who killed his wife

Posted August 21, 2008
Updated August 22, 2008

— The husband of a bicyclist killed on the road made an emotional plea for leniency for the former North Carolina State University student accused of hitting his wife with a truck while driving drunk.

Brian Anthony Reid, 21, was charged with felony death by motor vehicle and driving while impaired in the April 23 death of Nancy Leidy. Reid pleaded guilty to both felony charges as part of a plea agreement Thursday.

Leidy, 60, died after Reid's truck hit her while she was riding on Nazareth Street near the N.C. State campus.

During Reid's sentencing hearing, Leidy’s husband, Ross Leidy, described his wife as a giving, caring and an outgoing woman.

“I want people to know what this woman was all about and talk from his heart, which I think he (Reid) would do,” Ross Leidy said in court Thursday.

Ross Leidy said part of him wanted Reid to go to jail, but thought the student could do more good talking to fellow students and working with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to help others learn from his mistake.

“I think this kid would do a lot more good talking and telling about what’s happened to his life and what’s happened to my life as opposed to sitting in jail,” Ross Leidy said.

“Like Mr. Leidy said, I think, I can have a greater impact on the outside talking with people and sharing my experience,” Reid told the judge.

During a break in the court proceedings, Leidy also extended a hand of friendship to the Reid family.

Judge Don Stephens sentenced Reid to 36 months' probation and 400 hours of community service, which includes 100 appearances at high schools in Wake or Alamance counties to talk about the dangers of drunk driving.

Stephens told Reid he was lucky, saying the man whose wife he killed was his biggest advocate for leniency.

“He’s moved on and you need to move on, too, but you need to move on in a very positive way – to get your act together, young man, and do all the right things to correct the wrong,” Stephens said.

Reid was also sentenced to five weekends in jail at a time designated by his probation officer. Reid must also pay restitution of $10,428 to Ross Leidy.

During the probation period, Reid cannot drive or drink. If he does, he will face jail time. He also must submit to regular testing.

According to court records, Reid registered a 0.12 in an alcohol breath test and admitted to police that he had been drinking before he struck Leidy.

During Thursday’s hearing, prosecutors said officers who questioned Reid on April 23 reported that the student slurred his words, had trouble talking and failed field sobriety tests. He had been celebrating his 21st birthday the night before.

Prosecutors said Leidy was observing the rules of the road for a bicyclist.

On Thursday, Reid’s defense attorney, Rusty DeMent, said his client is very remorseful and has apologized to Ross Leidy. DeMent said Reid has also completed the recommended steps for alcohol treatment.

DeMent said that prior to the incident, Reid was a stand-out engineering and ROTC student at N.C. State who dreamed of becoming a naval officer.

On the night before the accident, DeMent said his client had too much to drink, went home and got sick, but went to class the next morning anyway.

Reid recently withdrew from the N.C. State and is now enrolled at Alamance Community College, DeMent said. The senior hopes to transfer to Methodist University in Fayetteville.


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  • IdoNOTliveinDurham Aug 22, 2008

    For everyone making comments I am sure there is no way we could have made a tragic mistake in college. I will be honest I was very "lucky" with many foolish decisions. But we are older now so its easy for us to sit back as parents etc.. and say it should never happen and none of us would have ever done it.

    If Reid had a past history of crime, driken while driving, was not a senior in college and the list goes on I am sure even thought the husband of the victim could not have changed the judges mind BUT thats not the case. I would imagine the judge, the Mr.Leidy and many more know the character of the young man better than any of the posters.

    If any of you can sit there behind the keyboard and think his concscience will not punish him for the rest of his life well look in the mirror and ask yourself would it bother you.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Aug 22, 2008

    May this young man and all young people stop drinking for it will bring consequences. It would not hurt if all adults over 30 would do the same. Don't wait until a tragedy comes your way and you wish you had listen to Dr. Dataclerk. :) Do it now - TODAY.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Aug 22, 2008

    The bible says to forgive just like Jesus died on the cros for all our sins. The moment something tragic happens or otherwise, we don't think we can forgive. Forgive, and that dark cloud hanging on your shoulders will forever be gone. Start forgiving today and you will be so glad you did. Jesus will even smile down on all of us if would just do that one small deed. Don't you think?

  • kathy8791 Aug 22, 2008

    While the husband's forgiveness is admirable, I hope he does not later regret his compassionate plea for the defendant because the young man fails to live up to his expectations by becoming a repeat offender, leaving another casualty for another family. I believe the wiser choice would have been to forgive in his heart and let the judge do his job, according to his standard and practice for sentencing under the law.

  • ifcdirector Aug 22, 2008

    "Wow this guy is a saint and we all could learn from him."

    Yeah from his sense of seemingly being elated to be there pronouncing this bit of idiotic nonsense I would have to say that we can learn never to marry people who will not zealously protect us in life and in death. I am sure he is Cozumel bound.

  • familyfour Aug 22, 2008

    His first speech needs to be at Duke, with the President in the front row.

    I still think age is not as important as education about alcohol, and enforcement of our laws. There are people of all ages that have killed while driving drunk...not just underage drinkers...

    That fella has a heart. It is wise, I suppose, to seek a better way to make a difference. This is a young fellow, in school, who made an HORRIBLE, UNCORRECTABLE CHOICE....Looking at the bigger picture, maybe a peer will make a difference. It's not like he's a fifteen time repeat offender, that is obviously not up for "speech therapy".

    I hope the fella makes the best of the opportunity that he has been given, and is grateful for the compassion he has received. Not everyone is so forgiving.

  • mramorak Aug 22, 2008

    Wow this guy is a saint and we all could learn from him.

  • Reader Aug 22, 2008

    The fact is under-age kids drink already. Most high schoolers binge drink, and know no other way to consume. Underage kids have easy access to alcohol - heck, my middle-schoolers have seen kids with vodka in their lunch boxes. Lowering the legal age back to 18 (as is was for many years) would put parents back in the picture. You can't teach your kids responsible drinking if they are grown and out of the house, or hiding it from you.

  • ra8797 Aug 22, 2008

    Leniency. Maybe we should try this on all first time felons if they promise to go speak to kids. Maybe that's the way to reduce crime across the board, especially in more urban areas. Yeah that's the ticket.

    Puh-lease. Totally wrong message being sent here.

  • K9Tucker.LoveMYcop Aug 22, 2008

    All I can say is WOW! Hope Reid will change someone's life for the better, if not for him he definetly should for Mr Leidy