Bristol Township resident Charles Horrocks, 24, was called a "maniac behind the wheel" by a judge and a "loser" and "bum" by his lawyer minutes before being sentenced to 6-and-a-half to 13 years in prison and five years of probation Thursday at county court in Doylestown.
Horrocks was drunk and speeding in his dark-colored Audi along New Falls Road in Bristol Township when he passed another vehicle using the shoulder and struck 36-year-old Eric Beck as he walked to meet his mother for a ride after a night at the bar with his brothers. The victim was discovered mortally wounded in the roadway and his mother held him in her arms as he passed away.
Horrocks then tried to cover up the crash, which damaged his new, unregistered Audi. He told his friends who knew of the crash that he would kill them if they said anything. The man then went to a Falls Township bar where he was spotted laughing and giving high-fives, the prosecution said.
After hearing that Eric Beck died in the incident, the friends talked to police. Police found Horrocks' car hidden at a storage center. Officers arrested him a short time later at his girlfriend's house.
Assistant District Attorney Matt Hoover went through the charges on Thursday that Horrocks plead guilty to and told the Judge Wallace Bateman why the 24-year-old should face jail time for them. The most serious was homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence.
"I'm not convicted you weep for Eric Beck," Bateman said, talking to Horrocks and the court just before he handed down his sentence. As the words came from the judge's mouth, tears streamed down the cheeks of 36-year-old Beck's mother.
The judge drew attention to the fact Horrocks had been charged with three speeding tickets and two careless driving charges in the past. He said he found it troubling that the former award-winning Truman High School football player was a menace to driver even when sober.
Just before the accident, which happened at around 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 19, the drunk driver treated New Falls Road as the "Charles Horrocks Expressway," Hoover said. He added that Horrocks was only looking out for himself.
Michelle Beck, the mother of the victim read her victim impact statement to the court and said the grief of discovering her son's crinkled body in the roadway and holding him in his final moments was "slowly tearing her apart."
"You took away a piece of me that I will never get back," she directed at the young man who took away her first born's life.
Jennifer Beck, who recently married Eric Beck's brother, said Horrocks' actions leading up to the hit-and-run accident were "careless, callous, cold, calculated."
"To you Eric was just some one in the road who messed up your car," she said in her victim impact statement.
The young woman also spoke of how at her wedding instead of having Eric Beck there as a groomsman, a poster board with his photograph was placed out.
Horrocks' attorney, Louis Busico, spoke of how the crime had impacted the young man and how issues growing up contributed to a life where he turned his back on his family and abused drugs.
During a speech to the court, Horrocks admitted that drugs overtook his life. He added that he was working to turn his life around and hoped to continue to do so after his release from jail. His mother echoed a similar statement she tearfully read to the court. She said her entire family was remorseful.
"I am the person who has brought unspeakable pain to people I do not know," Horricks said in the courtroom, wiping tears from his eyes.
Busico said after court that his client was expecting jail time for the New Falls Road hit-and-run and is prepared to face the consequences.
Bateman said he could not understand why the 24-year-old decided to drive that morning when a sober friend was being paid to drive to anther bar.
Michelle Beck said after the sentencing that their will never be a fair sentence for the death of her son, but she hoped that she could now slowly move on with her life.
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