In Loudoun County Circuit Court on Friday, two friends were described with similar words by their family members—warm, caring, compassionate, and once with bright futures ahead of them. One is dead; the other is going to prison for 10 years.
During a two-hour sentencing before Judge Jeanette Irby, relatives of Andre M. Glenn and Gabrielle M. Perry took the stand to explain the impact the fatal crash during the early morning hours of Feb. 21, 2017, has had on their lives.
Glenn was behind the wheel on Rt. 28 carrying coworkers home from a party at Chantilly bar. At approximately 2 a.m. he crashed into the end of a concrete road barrier and the Jeep Wrangler flipped, throwing Perry and another backseat passenger flying from the vehicle.
Perry, a 22-year-old who had recently graduated from Hofstra University with degrees in religion and English, died at the scene.
Glenn, then 26, who two hours later registered a 0.14 BAC, nearly twice the legal limit, during a breathalyzer test at the county jail, was charged with manslaughter, aggravated DUI and driving with a revoked license. He pleaded guilty to the charges in July, just before the start of a planned three-day trial.
During the heart wrenching sentencing hearing Oct. 19, Gabby’s father, Steve, said his last conversation with his daughter was offering to come to the bar and give her a ride home. She didn’t wait.
Twenty months after the crash, Gabby’s parents said they still cannot drive on Rt. 28. Her mother is unable to sleep through the night.
“She was our joy—to everyone. Everyone she met, she had an impact on,” Steve Perry said. “The world lost someone who was really out to make a difference.”
“I never thought I would have to speak of Gabby in the past tense—that breaks my heart,” Myrna Perry, her mother, said.
“She was sentenced to death. Not only that, we were sentenced to a life of anguish,” she told the judge.
Glenn’s mother, Francis, described her son as companionate and someone who had fallen on hard times after being laid off from his job and even being homeless for a period. Terrance Glenn described his brother as a man of integrity and selfless, and highlight Andre’s role in starting the BUDS (Bulldogs Understanding Different Students) at Stone Bridge High School to provide mentors to special education students.
Coworker Jason Mims said Glenn was like a brother to him. “Andre, by far, is one of the best people I’ve ever met,” he said. “This was an error in judgment, not a reflection of his character.”
Glenn also took the stand and offered an apology.
“It kills me every day that I brought this on your family,” Glenn said to the Perry family members in the gallery.
“I wish I could give my life for hers,” he said. “I wish I could go back there and take the whole night away.”
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Shamis asked Glenn if he had previously driven when he thought he had too much to drink. Glenn said he usually would call for an Uber ride, but said maybe that had happened “once or twice”—a claim that Shamis dismissed as lacking credibility.
Shamis and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Ryan Perry urged Irby to hand down a sentence that would serve as a deterrent to others who might get behind the wheel when they shouldn’t. They asked that she deviate from the state’s sentencing guidelines that called for a punishment of one to three years behind bars.
Ryan said it would be beneficial for the public if the court set a sentence that would encourage those who would “usually call for a ride” to never get behind the wheel while impaired.
Let them read that they could spend the next 10 years in prison, he said. “This sends a message to other people on our roads that is not tolerable.”
Irby agreed. Noting Gabby’s mother’s wish that no other families have to suffer as they have, the judge said she wanted to impose a sentence that would make people think twice before driving after they’ve had too much to drink.
“This is no fix. You can’t make it better,” Irby said, noting it was the hardest part of her job.
She sentenced Glenn to the maximum on the three charges—10 years for involuntary manslaughter, 12 months for DUI and 12 months for driving on a revoked license. She suspended two years of the manslaughter sentence, but ordered that the sentences be served consecutively for a total of 10 years imprisonment.