Local News

Husband requests leniency for drunken driver who killed his wife

Posted August 21, 2008 2:38 p.m. EDT
Updated August 22, 2008 5:23 a.m. EDT

— 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.