Drunk driver sentenced to 1 year in jail for Whitfield teacher's death

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by KMOV.com staff

KMOV.com

Posted on August 17, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Updated Friday, Aug 17 at 5:00 PM

CHESTERFIELD, Mo. (KMOV) -- A 55-year-old Chesterfield man who drove drunk and killed a Whitfield School teacher nearly a year ago was sentenced in St. Louis County Court Friday morning.

Patrick McCormick was sentenced to one year in jail for a second-degree assault charge and five years in jail for the charge of involuntary manslaughter. But a judge suspended his sentence for involuntary manslaughter and dropped it to five years probation.

According to officials, McCormick’s probation begins the first day of his one-year jail sentence. He will have to serve four more years of probation after his year in jail.

The judge also ordered McCormick to wear an alcohol-monitoring device for a year after he gets out of jail.

McCormick told courts he was depressed when he issued a guilty plea June 22.

McCormick was driving around a curve on Wildhorse Creek Road August 26, 2011 when he crossed over the center line and crashed into Janet Esrock’s car head-on. Esrock’s son Jonathan was also in her car.

The mother and son were driving home from a football game between Parkway North and SLUH.

Janet Esrock, 50, was transported to the hospital, where she died two weeks later on September 11.

Her son was treated and later released at an area hospital.

The family of Janet Esrock walked out of the St. Louis County courthouse Friday morning visibly upset.

One woman was wiping away tears.

“Certainly this light (sentence) was not expected by the prosecutors or by the families,” said defense attorney Scott Rosenblum. “Nobody could ever imagine how the Esrock’s feel. Nobody can ever begin to imagine how they feel.”

The news wasn’t just hard on Esrock’s family.

Julie Abeln, a long-time family friend, wonders about the possible message the judge sent to the community.

“I think the message is where’s the buck stop? When’s the message hit the community that drinking and driving is not an option,” she said.

Janet Esrock, a math teacher at Whitfield, also coached field hockey and basketball. She was with the Whitfield School since 2003. Two of her children were graduates and one was still attending Whitfield School.

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