ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Amanda Hudock-Tandell will spend four years behind bars for taking the life of 23-year-old St. Clairsville resident Mary Carroll.
Upon pleading no contest to the charge of aggravated vehicular homicide Wednesday in Belmont County Common Pleas Court, Hudock-Tandell, a St. Clairsville area resident, was sentenced to four years in the Ohio Reformatory for Women. Hudock-Tandell, 23, said she accepted responsibility for fatally striking Carroll with her vehicle in downtown St. Clairsville in an April hit-and-run.
Judge William Martin of Carroll County took the role of presiding judge after Belmont County Judge John M. Solovan II stepped down from the case.
Photo by Katie Matz
Amanda Hudock-Tandell stands next to defense attorney Kevin Flanagan and weeps as she makes comments to victim Mary Carroll’s family, as well as her own family and friends, during a hearing in Belmont County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday.
"Unfortunately in these kinds of cases, everyone suffers a loss," he said. "They're always tough cases for everybody."
In a courtroom filled with emotional people, the victim's mother, Lorna Carroll, spoke on behalf of her deceased daughter and the rest of her family and friends.
"This is the most important thing I've ever done, but it is not the hardest thing I've ever done. The hardest thing my sons and I have ever done was holding Mary Beth's ashes for one last hug when she was laid to rest, finally, after being crushed, left in the street, photographed, autopsied and held for police evidence ... ," Lorna Carroll said. "We pray to God she didn't feel any pain while she struggled for three hours to live under utterly hopeless circumstances.
"When Mary was getting ready on April 16 to go out with her friends, she came to me and asked me if her shoes matched her outfit. ... I got those shoes back the next day with blood on them," the victim's mother continued. "She told me that she had just colored her hair, and to feel how soft it was ... that was the last time I touched her before I touched her hair and kissed her in death."
Lorna Carroll said her daughter's skull was fractured in three places, there was bleeding in her brain, her eye socket was fractured, her jaw was fractured, her neck was fractured in two places, her spinal cord was injured, her ribs were fractured in two places and both her lungs were collapsed, one of them lacerated. Her tail bone was also fractured in two places, her pelvis was shattered with breaks in five places and her back was injured in three places.
"If she had lived, she would have never been the same Mary. ... We want you to know all that information, Amanda, and to live with it as we do," the mother added. "We are living what other people dread."
Lorna Carroll also told Hudock-Tandell, "If I believed you were innocent, I'd forgive you. But when I lie awake at night and look for your innocence, I find nothing, nothing at all. Mary was my only daughter, her brothers' only sister, and we miss her so much. Our hearts go out to Mary, her life and death and dignity. ... She was important to us."
Hudock-Tandell's counsel, Kevin J. Flanagan, asked the court to consider Hudock-Tandell's remorse when handing down her sentence.
"She has a jail cell, Your Honor, and it's in her mind," Flanagan said. "She physically hurts, and she misses her friend."
A friend of Mary Carroll, Kelly Roman, said she's relieved Hudock-Tandell has been sentenced.
"I'm just glad to see her get jail time," Roman said. "It's never going to be enough justice - even the five years wouldn't have been enough - but at least with the four years she'll have time to think about what she put Mary's friends and family through and what she put Mary through."
Aside from the four-year prison term, Hudock's driver's license was suspended for 15 years.