- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A pregnant suburban Philadelphia mother of two was sentenced to nine to 23 months in jail for running a stop sign and killing a floral deliveryman.

Meredith Williams-Earle told police she was checking on her 2-year-old son in the back seat when the accident occurred. Authorities later determined she was under the influence of alcohol and Ativan, an anti-anxiety drug, at the time of the crash in Lower Merion Township.

Williams-Earle drove through the sign at a high rate of speed in August 2013 and crashed into the driver’s side of Winston Staats’ Valley Forge Flowers delivery van, flipping it over. Staats, a 72-year-old U.S. Marine veteran and retired U.S. Postal Service worker, was partially ejected from the van and the vehicle rolled on top of him.

“All of this reckless behavior resulted in Mr. Staats’ death,” said county Assistant District Attorney Alec O’Neill.

A jury in March acquitted Williams-Earle of homicide by motor vehicle. She was found guilty of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and of recklessly endangering the life of her son.

On Tuesday, a Montgomery County judge rejected a request to spare the pregnant woman from jail but did allow her to begin her sentence Friday so she can keep an appointment with her obstetrician.

Defense attorney Christian Hoey said he will seek a medical furlough for Williams-Earle at the time of birth rather than have the child born behind bars in six to 7½ months.

“I am ashamed, self-loathing and think about what I did every day,” said Williams-Earle. “I offer no excuses and accept responsibility for what happened.”

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