DWI Driver Gets 20-Year Sentence in Fatal Crash

A 29-year-old Sterling man who pleaded guilty to felony homicide in connection with a fatal crash last spring will spend 20 years in prison.

The wreck happened just after 7 p.m. March 8, 2018 at the intersection of Potomac View Road and Algonkian Parkway. Patrick Hitzelberg was eastbound on Algonkian Parkway and drove into the path of a westbound car while he attempted to turn on to Potomac View Road.

The other driver, Steven Kimmel, was ejected from his vehicle. He was transported to Reston Hospital, but never regained consciousness and died six days later.

At the crash scene, the State Police trooper found that Hitzelberg failed roadside sobriety tests and refused to take a preliminary breath test. Inside Hitzelberg’s vehicle, investigators found an open 12-pack with two beers missing and more than 10 empty beer cans scattered on the floor and under seats. A small amount of marijuana was found in his coat pocket. After his arrest, Hitzelberg’s blood alcohol content was measured as 0.12 at the county jail.

Hitzelberg pleaded guilty in September to charges of felony homicide and DWI-third offense.

Hitzelberg’s criminal history goes back to 2008, when he was twice cited for underage possession of alcohol. He also had charges of public intoxication and possession of marijuana. His prior DWI charges were in 2012 and 2104.

In character statements submitted by family members, they attributed his difficulties to a diagnosis of ADHD and as well as a history of alcohol use by his parents.

The sentence was handed down in Loudoun County Circuit Court after several hours of emotional testimony from family members and friends of both Hitzelberg and Kimmel.

On the homicide charge, Hitzelberg was sentenced to 40 years in prison, with 20 years suspended, a $1,000 fine, and 10 years of supervised probation upon his release. On the DWI charge, he was sentenced to five years in prison. The sentences will run concurrently.

Hitzelberg also faces a civil suit filed in January by Kimmel’s mother on behalf of his estate. The lawsuit seeks $10 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages.

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