Driver gets 46 months to 15 years for killing road worker

Samiya Speed wipes away a tear after reading her statement of sorrow and forgiveness to the Snell family.

A 22-year-old Detroit woman was sentenced Wednesday to 46 months to 15 years in prison for striking and killing a road worker near downtown Detroit in June.

Authorities say Samiya Speed was drunk and driving on a suspended license when she swerved into a roadwork crew on northbound Interstate 75 about 1:45 a.m. June 14, killing 57-year-old David Snell of Bay City. 

Snell was helping another worker hook up a trailer to a truck when the crash occurred. Speed's vehicle rolled over as a result of the wreck.

On Wednesday, Snell's loved ones, co-workers and friends filled a basement courtroom at Frank Murphy Hall of Justice for the sentencing by Judge Dalton Roberson of Wayne County Circuit Court.

Rachel Snell, wife of the victim, reads her victim impact statement during the sentencing.

The construction worker's widow, Rachel Snell, asked for a 15-year sentence, saying she, her children and her husband's friends "received a life sentence" the day her husband died as a result of Speed's actions. 

"You stole his life and severed my heart," Rachel Snell told Speed, who sat a few feet away with her defense attorney, Joshua Nucian.

Speed, at times tearful, apologized to the Snell family, saying,  "I am truly remorseful" and "I have been wanting to express my feelings since Day One."

She added: "I am here to take my consequences. I understand what I did was wrong." 

Speed pleaded no contest Aug. 7 to charges of operating under the influence causing death, driving with a suspended license causing death, a moving violation causing death to a construction worker and operating under the influence, second offense.

Beside her prison sentence, Speed will have to pay $7,500 in fines, plus court costs.

A civil lawsuit has been filed in the case. Restitution for the Snell family could be determined during those proceedings.

Roberson did not elaborate on the sentence he gave Speed.

Andy's Law, passed in 2001 and amended in 2012, imposes a prison term of up to 15 years and up to $7,500 in fines for a motorist who injures or kills anyone in a road construction zone.

David Snell was a loving and giving father who looked forward to "holding grandchildren and growing old," said his widow.

David Snell's boss and colleagues described him as a dedicated worker who was willing to help and teach other workers at his job.

Snell's two sons, T.J.  Rancour and David Snell Jr., also spoke about their father before Roberson sentenced Speed. They said he was a caring and generous dad. 

Rancour said his father was the backbone of their family.

"He worked constantly to support us," said Rancour, who asked Roberson to "send the right message" to Michigan residents when handing out his sentence to Speed.

Curt Vogel, left, who was with David Snell on I-75 when he was struck and killed by Samiya Speed, is consoled by Snell's son T.J. Rancour during his victim impact statement.

David Snell Jr. said "the world is broken ... by the senseless killing of my father."

He added: "I will never understand why someone would want to get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated. This was easily preventable. My dad should have come home that weekend."

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