MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — It was a devastating day in court Wednesday as the family of a father who was run over was there to watch the driver be sentenced.
There was barely a dry eye as the victim’s family addressed the crowded courtroom and their own neighbor, who admitted driving drunk and running over Brian Gormley, a husband and father of three, as he walked home after work from the Long Island Rail Road station in Garden City on Feb. 12, 2018, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.
Dressed in a red coat, Tara Guinnane’s relatives tried to shield her from CBS2 cameras before she was sentenced to three to six years in prison for aggravated vehicular assault. Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said that two hours after the crime the 49-year-old’s blood-alcohol concentration was more than twice the legal limit.
“This DWI defendant did not think about Mr. Gormley or any other innocent person who crossed her path. Brian Gormley will pay the price for this defendant’s criminal decision for the rest of his life. There is simply no excuse for anyone to drive drunk,” DA Singas said.
There were hugs in hallway among family and their Garden City neighbors. The raw emotion spilled out from the courtroom when the judge learned the victim suffered traumatic brain injury, a fractured eye socket, spinal cord damage, and will never fully recover.
Gormley, a Wall Street broker at the time of the incident, was left for dead on street in front of his house just before dinner time, DA Singas said.
“The victims of drunk driving is not just the person who gets hit by the car or gets in the accident. It’s the family, it’s the community … It’s people that you love. They go through pain daily. It’s not fair. It’s not right,” Gormley said. “This is someone’s foolish and stupid idea to drive drunk. I am the walking billboard for pain.”
“This was not an accident. This was a tragedy waiting to happen,” added the victim’s wife, Mary Ellen Gormley. “Everybody in our community, everybody on our block knew this woman, Tara Dwyer Guinnane, had a serious issue with alcohol abuse. We tried to help her. I tried to help her several times. Everybody in my family has tried to help her.”
Guinnane claims she drank a Fireball shot on the way home from the grocery store. Police recovered multiple booze bottles inside her vehicle. She apologized to the Gormley family, saying, “There are no words. I am ashamed of my actions.”
“I hope that she gets the help that she needs. I hope her children get the help that they need. Brian will never be the same,” Mary Ellen Gormley said.
“I have a life sentence of pain. And she will get out of jail, but my life will never change,” Brian Gormley said.