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Published: Saturday, 11/10/2001

Motorist, 20, gets 16 years in deaths of couple

Judge Charles Wittenberg compared Jacob Sisson's decision to drive a stolen car the wrong way into a busy intersection during a police chase to shooting a gun randomly into a crowd of people.

Sisson, 20, was sentenced to 16 years in prison yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court for causing the deaths of Ricardo and Darlene Barney at Floyd Street and Collingwood Boulevard after a 35-second chase on July 22.

The judge ordered consecutive sentences of six years for two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide. Sisson, who was intoxicated at the time of the accident, also received four years for failure to comply with the signal of a police officer.

In driving the wrong way on Floyd to avoid police, Judge Wittenberg said Sisson was nothing less than a “deadly weapon, a bullet flying through the air randomly at people and causing a random death.”

Mr. Barney, 48, of 1500 Brooke Park Drive, the driver of the couple's car, died at the scene. His wife, Darlene, 44, died moments later in St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center.

Sisson, of 1262 Vance St., was driving a stolen car near Franklin Avenue and Bancroft Street about 3 p.m. when police began to follow him. When officers turned on their emergency lights, Sisson sped away across a yard and onto Floyd, driving the wrong way down the street. The fleeing car reached 45 mph on streets where the speed limit is 25 mph.

Sisson ran stop signs and struck a car that was backing out of a driveway before he drove through a stop sign at Collingwood and hit the Barneys' car, which was traveling south on Collingwood. He and a 14-year-old passenger fled from the car but were arrested after a brief foot chase.

Judge Wittenberg noted that Sisson was driving with a suspended driver's license. Sisson was released from prison in February after serving three months on a charge of attempting to carry a concealed weapon in connection with a robbery.

The judge said giving a light sentence for fleeing police and killing two people in the accident would demean the seriousness of the crime.

“Your past record shows you have no concern for obeying the laws or following the rules of society. You care about yourself only,” Judge Wittenberg said. “You don't care about what happens to other people.”

During the hearing, Dorinda Harris, a sister of Mrs. Barney, told Judge Wittenberg about how devastating the deaths of the couple have been to her family.

“I think he should pay for the pain and anguish that the family has gone through,” said Mrs. Harris, as she pounded her fist into the palm of her other hand.

Before being sentenced, Sisson, who kept his head bowed throughout much of the hearing, said he was sorry for causing the deaths of the couple.



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