Court denies appeal of drunk driver serving up to 38 years

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Lancaster man serving up to 38 years for a drunk-driving crash cannot withdraw his guilty plea.

Carlos R. Garcia filed a request to withdraw the plea, but the state Superior Court denied his appeal.

Garcia, 36, is serving 19-and-a-half to 38 years for causing a February 2014 crash in Manheim Township that killed 24-year-old Kaitlyn Berry and seriously injured her mother.

The district attorney’s office said Garcia’s blood-alcohol level was .144 percent shortly after the crash. He was driving on a suspended license from a prior DUI, and his 7-year-old son was a passenger when he struck Stamper’s vehicle nearly head-on in the 1300 block of East King Street.

In his request to withdraw the plea, Garcia argued he did not realize a judge could order consecutive sentences on the charges. He also claimed his attorney misrepresented what the potential sentence could be.

The appeals court found Garcia signed paperwork indicating he was aware of possible consecutive sentences, and he was told he faced a maximum of 53 years.

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