A 29-year-old man was sentenced Feb. 13 to 25 years in the Virginia Department of Corrections after being convicted of felony homicide and driving under the influence in a fatal crash in March of 2018.
Patrick Ryan Hitzelberg was sentenced by Judge Burke F. McCahill in the Circuit Court of Loudoun County. Hitzelberg’s DUI conviction was his third offense within 10 years.
According to court documents, Hitzelberg was driving westbound on Algonkian Parkway on March 8 when he turned left on Potomac View Road, striking an SUV in the eastbound lane of Algonkian Parkway. Steven Kimmel, the driver of the SUV, was ejected from his vehicle as a result of the impact. Kimmel died on March 14.
Law enforcement officers suspected Hitzelberg was intoxicated. Hitzelberg admitted to having consumed several beers before driving that evening. Virginia State Police found 11 empty beer cans and 10 unopened beer cans in Hitzelberg’s vehicle. Test results showed a blood alcohol concentration of .12.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys Eric M. Shamis and Russet W. Perry prosecuted the case. Thirteen victim impact statements were submitted to the Court at sentencing and nearly 50 friends and family of the victim attended the hearing.
“This sentence sends a strong message that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not be tolerated in our community. Too many lives have been lost because of the careless and reckless choice to drink and drive,” Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Nicole Wittmann said.
In addition to the active jail sentence, Judge McCahill imposed an additional 20 years of suspended prison time, a $1,000 fine, placed Hitzelberg on supervised probation for 10 years, and ordered him to participate as a speaker at schools and community events about the dangers of drunk driving upon his release from jail. Hitzelberg’s privilege to operate a motor has been revoked indefinitely.