December 27, 2013

Man sentenced to prison for drunk-driving death

Rachel Brown

— A Varnell man was sentenced to seven years in prison and ordered to pay a $2,500 fine after he pleaded guilty earlier this month to charges related to killing a man while driving drunk.

Shawn Holland, 24, ran a red light on Cleveland Highway at about 1:30 a.m. on July 8 and his Toyota Tundra struck the side door of 60-year-old David Rittenhouse’s Chevrolet Tracker, investigators said. A Georgia State Patrol trooper said Rittenhouse was turning onto Cleveland Highway and had the right of way.

District Attorney Bert Poston later said tests showed Holland’s blood alcohol content as of about two hours after the wreck was 0.22. The legal limit in Georgia is 0.08.

In an agreement he accepted shortly before Christmas, Holland pleaded guilty to one count of first degree vehicular homicide and one count of DUI, court records show. He had been charged with two counts of each crime, and the other two were dismissed.

His sentence states he must serve 15 years — seven in prison and the rest on probation — as well as pay a $2,500 fine, perform 360 hours of community service and undergo substance abuse treatment.

Shortly after the wreck, family members on both sides commented on The Daily Citizen’s Facebook page asking for prayers for everyone involved.

Holland’s attorney, Todd L. Ray, did not immediately return messages seeking comment.