20 Years for Driver in Fatal DWI Crash That Killed Nun

The driver was awaiting deportation at time of accident

The man convicted in the deadly Bristow, Va., accident that killed a nun was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison.

Police said Carlos Martinelly-Montano, in the United States illegally, was drunk when he slammed his car into another car in 2010.  The crash killed Sister Denise Mosier and injured two other nuns.  He was convicted of felony murder in October -- a conviction his attorneys said they plan to appeal -- and pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated and driving without a license.

In court Friday, Montano pleaded at length for mercy, New4's Julie Carey reported. He told the judge he has reformed in prison, found God and hopes to become a pastor.

"I'm extremely sorry for the destruction and harm I've put the sisters and their families through," Montano said. "I feel horrible about myself for what I have done. I take full responsibility for my actions and I accept my penalty."

The incident was Montano's third drunken driving offense and happened while he was awaiting deportation.

In August of 2010, the three nuns in the car were headed to a retreat at the Saint Benedict Monastery in Bristow, about five miles away from the scene of the crash on Bristow Road near Wright Lane.  Investigators said Martinelly-Montano, coming in the opposite direction, crossed over the center line and crashed into the nuns' car head on.

The other nuns in the vehicle, Sisters Connie Ruth Lupton and Charlotte Lange, were seriously injured in the crash.

"If it would be up to me, I would rather for my life to be taken away than that of an innocent person," Montano said in court Friday.

Martinelly-Montano has twice before been convicted of drunken driving, and was awaiting a deportation hearing at the time of the accident.

The fatal crash prompted Prince William County officials to sue the federal government to explain why Martinelly-Montano was not in detention for his prior crimes and immigration status.

Montano faced the possibility of up to 70 years in prison.

Contact Us