Essex man sentenced for 2017 crash that killed his girlfriend

Local News
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An Essex man will serve at least 30 months in prison for his role in a 2017 crash that killed his girlfriend after reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Prosecutors say that, in November 2017, Riley Watkins, 26, was driving 96 mph in a 35-mph zone with a blood alcohol content over double the legal limit. He lost control of the vehicle and struck a utility pole. His girlfriend, Emma Press, a passenger, died.

Riley Watkins, 26, pleaded guilty last year to driving under the influence with a fatality resulting and simple assault related to a strangling incident involving Press’ father two months before the crash. 

The judge also sentenced Watkins to an indefinite term of probation of not less than six years after he’s released from prison. He’s also required to complete a driver rehabilitation program and 225 hours of community service, at least 25 of which must involve speaking to programs aimed at reducing the risks of drunk driving. 

Press’ father, mother and aunt testified Monday. Watkins testified on his own behalf, along with his mother and two brothers.

Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George said the state sought a sentence of 8-15 years.

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