Man who caused wreck that killed RPD employee gets 5-10 years

Nov 5, 2015 By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Balancing mitigating factors against the severity of the crime, a judge on Thursday sentenced an Ethete man to five to 10 years in prison.

Reuben Revere, then 27, drove drunk on the bitterly cold morning of Nov. 13 in west Riverton and caused a crash that killed Carolyn Whitman, 73, of Riverton.

Friends and relatives of the defendant, Revere's lawyer and Revere himself told District Court Judge Norman E. Young that Revere has a short criminal history, is an alcoholic, and is remorseful.

Revere pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide in July as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.

The crime is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Fremont County deputy attorney Tim Hancock asked for a term of 10 to 12 years in prison, close to the 12-year maximum sentence possible under the plea agreement. Revere's lawyer, Valerie Schone-berger, argued for three to seven years. Young came down between the two in opting for five to 10.

He also recommended Revere for a Department of Corrections substance-abuse treatment program.

Choking back tears and pausing at times to wipe his eyes, Revere said he was sorry to Whitman's family, friends and coworkers.

"I want to do whatever it takes to make sure I'm not the cause of a tragedy like this again," Revere said. "I intend on committing myself to staying sober. I hope I never hurt anyone ever again."

Revere's, uncle Leroy Revere, asked Young to be lenient, saying his nephew is an alcoholic.

"Prison is not the thing Reuben needs right now. He needs treatment," Leroy Revere said.

Schoneberger noted the defendant had only been convicted of misdemeanors before, and his DUI conviction also resulting from the Nov. 13 wreck was his first. That the defendant pleaded guilty should also be a mitigating factor, she said.

"Mr. Revere took full responsibility for this," she said.

Reuben Revere's friend John Poly said he had been studying the bible with the defendant for some time. She said Revere had been trying to change his life.

"I can see an excellent potential in this young man," Poly said.

Hancock, the prosecutor, said Whitman was a dedicated woman. She contracted polio at the age of 4 but was still working as an evidence technician for the Riverton Police Department at age 73.

"The only thing that beat her was the accident," Hancock said.

Fremont County deputy attorney Ember Oakley also spoke to Whitman's character.

"She was known for her intellect, her humor and her sharp wit," Oakley said.

Hancock thought a stiff sentence for Revere would deter the defendant from offending again and send a message to the community.

"It could show if you drink and drive you can't choose the consequences. You could die, someone else could die ... and I think it needs to make clear it's not worth it," Hancock said.

Before announcing his sentence, Young said prison time was appropriate to reflect the seriousness of the crime but several factors counted in Revere's favor.

"His lack of prior convictions, the depth of his remorse, his acceptance of responsibility," Young listed.

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