'A slap in the face.' Family upset with sentence for fatal wrong-way DUI crash

Friends and family of Shina McClam packed the courtroom, all wearing shirts with her name and picture. They were not happy with today's sentence.

News 12 Staff

Apr 15, 2022, 10:20 AM

Updated 826 days ago

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A Yorktown man was sentenced Friday to three to nine years in prison for a fatal wrong-way drunk driving crash.
Mark Cope was found guilty in a non-jury trial this January on charges including aggravated vehicular homicide and manslaughter.
Cope was driving the wrong way on Route 9 in Peekskill when he crashed head-on into a car in December 2020.
The driver, 32-year-old Shina McClam of Ossining, was killed. McClam's 6-year-old daughter and 18-year-old niece Indya Evans were also in the car and injured.
"Shina swerved her car at the last minute to make sure all the force that your car was about to give hit her. She protected her family 'til her last living moment on this Earth," said McClam's friend, Tashi Njoroge.
Cope's blood alcohol content was at least 0.18%, more than twice the legal driving limit of 0.08%.
The District Attorney's Office had recommended that the court impose a term of six to 18 years in state prison.
Friends and family of Shina McClam packed the courtroom, all wearing shirts with her name and picture. They were not happy with today's sentence.
"It's a slap in the face. Three years is a slap in the face. He should've gotten a lot more years than that. Drunk driving is killing somebody. My daughter didn't choose to die that night, he chose to drive drunk. He gets to go home in three years to his family. He gets to be a dad to his son, so his family goes to visit him, and she has to go visit her mom at a grave. There was no justice, definitely no justice here at all," says Tessie Cherry, McClam's mother.
"In three years, you'll be going home with your family, hug them and talk to them. Three years for us is just another three years without Shina," Evans said.
Cope's sentence includes a $500 fine and a protective order against McClam's daughter and niece - meaning under no circumstances can he get in touch with them, even to apologize.
His driver's license was revoked for a year, but the judge said that he hopes Cope never gets behind the wheel of a car again.


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