On October 25, 2013, Mecklenburg County Circuit Judge Leslie M. Osborn sentenced Santos Gabriel-Tomas, 30, to 10 years behind bars for killing 61-year-old Maxey Ann Lynch,. Two months earlier, Gabriel-Tomas pleaded guilty to aggravated DUI manslaughter, DUI second offense and driving without an operator’s license. Gabriel-Tomas speaks only Spanish and required the use of an interpreter throughout his court proceedings. In the early morning hours of April 7, 2013, Gabriel-Tomas crashed into a 1999 Ford Escort driven by Lynch, who was a newspaper carrier for The Richmond Times-Dispatch. The Guatemalan national was driving in the wrong direction on U.S. 58 and had a blood-alcohol content of 0.19 percent (more than twice the state's legal limit), at the time of the wreck. Lynch was airlifted to Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, where she was later pronounced dead. At sentencing, Mecklenburg Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Nash, told Judge Osborn: "He [Gabriel-Tomas] said he had been drinking beer and liquor with friends and that he doesn’t remember going home." Incredibly, it was actually the illegal alien's second DUI conviction in less than two years. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported:
Tomas had never acquired a license to drive, and after he was convicted in March 2012 of his first drunken driving offense in Lunenburg County, a judge revoked his privileges to obtain a license for 12 months as part of his punishment. After the suspension period passed, Tomas continued to drive without a license and was doing so when he killed Lynch.
In April 2012, the New York Times reported that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE), under Obama would no longer issue ICE holds on illegal aliens who had only been charged with traffic violations. For years, the now-retired Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) tried and failed to get the so-called Scott Gardner Act through Congress. This measure would have required the immediate deportation of any illegal alien convicted of drinking and driving. Such a measure may very well have saved the life of Mrs. Lynch. Maxey Lynch left behind her husband of 19 years, two sons, a stepdaughter and six grandchildren.
One person left the following remembrance in Mrs. Lynch’s online obituary:
Our deepest sympathies to Levi and the family. Maxey will be greatly and sadly missed. She was a wonderful lady. She was a wife, grandmother, friend, sister, cousin who wanted everyone around her to hear her laughter. Will miss your laugh my friend.
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