New York Mom Killed in Drunk Wrong-Way Route 9 Christmas Crash
A Hudson Valley family's Christmas will likely be ruined forever thanks to a drunk wrong-way driver on Route 9.
On Friday, Westchester County District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah announced that Yorktown resident Mark Cope was sentenced to state prison in connection with a wrong-way, head-on collision he caused while intoxicated, which resulted in the death of Ossining resident Shina McClam.
New York Man Sentenced For Fatal Route 9 Crash
Cope, 41, was sentenced to a term of 3 to 9 years in state prison. The 41-year-old from Westchester County previously pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, manslaughter, aggravated vehicular assault, vehicular assault, all felonies, assault, aggravated driving while intoxicated, two counts of driving while intoxicated and reckless driving, all misdemeanors.
The Westchester District Attorney’s Office recommended that the Court impose a term of 6 to 18 years in state prison.
Yorktown Man Drove Drunk on Route 9 in Peekskill, Westchester County
“Mark Cope’s selfish decision to drive while intoxicated resulted in the needless death of a mother and put the lives of the two young passengers at great risk,” Rocah said in a press release. “Our hearts are with the surviving victims, their families, and the entire Ossining community, which united to take care of the McClam family after this senseless tragedy.”
On December 23, 2020, at approximately 9:07 p.m., Cope drove northbound in the southbound lane on Route 9 in Peekskill when he crashed head-on into the car driven by 32-year-old Shina McClam of Ossining, officials say.
Ossining Mother Killed, Daughter And Niece Injured in Wrong-Way Route 9 Crash
McClam died at the scene. Her six-year-old daughter and 18-year-old niece, who were passengers in the car, suffered non-life-threatening injuries from the crash and were transported to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla. Both spent one week in the hospital.
"My aunt was loving, fun, flamboyant, the glue of the family. She did everything for everyone. An amazing soul. Finding out she was gone made me feel so much pain and yet in that moment I was so numb… I don’t know what you were thinking that night. What you thought was going to happen after you got into your car… You made a choice out of pleasure and fun. You destroyed a family beyond recognition," a surviving passenger said in a victim impact statement made to the court.
Cope had a blood alcohol content of .21 at the time of the collision. according to the Westchester District Attorney's Office.
“This horrible tragedy cost a woman her life and a daughter her mother due to Mark Cope’s decision to selfishly get behind the wheel of his car while intoxicated,” Westchester County District Attorney Rocah said after Cope was charged in April 2021.