A traffic crash that caused the death of his mother while he was under the influence of methamphetamine netted a London man a 15-year prison sentence.
Chris Lee Francis, 37, of Little County Road in East Bernstadt, entered a guilty plea to second-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault, first-degree wanton endangerment and third offense of driving under the influence on Tuesday - just one day before he was set for a jury trial on those charges. The manslaughter charge was amended from the original charge of murder, which carries a minimum penalty of 20 years - which is five years less than Francis was recommended to serve for the manslaughter charge.
Francis was recommended to serve 10 years for an amended charge of manslaughter, but that was enhanced to 15 years due to the charge of second-degree persistent felony offender. He pled to the maximum penalty of 10 years for two counts of second-degree assault which was enhanced to 15 years from the PFO charge, an enhanced sentence of 10 years for wanton endangerment, which carries a maximum of 5 years but was increased by the PFO charge. He also was recommended to serve 12 months in jail for the driving under the influence charge. The failure to maintain auto insurance charge was dropped.
Under Kentucky law, all sentences will be served concurrently, or at the same time, giving Francis a total of 15 years. Had the charge of murder remained, Francis could have faced a 20 to 50 years, or life, sentence.
Francis was driving a Toyota Camry along Hensley Road in East Bernstadt on Sept. 5, 2018 when he crossed the centerline and struck a GMC Terrain head-on. He was flown from the scene to the University of Kentucky Medical Center for his injuries. His mother, 60-year-old Holly Francis, was a passenger in the vehicle. She was taken to Saint Joseph London, where she died a short time later.
The driver of the Terrain and passengers - a 2-year-old and an infant - were all injured and taken to Saint Joseph London but two were transferred to UK Medical Center.
Chris Francis remained hospitalized for several weeks but was released and arrested on Nov. 19. Toxicology tests revealed that Francis had high levels of methamphetamine in his blood at the time of the crash. He has remained in the Laurel County Correctional Center since that time, held under $100,000 cash bond.
He is scheduled for formal sentencing on Nov.25.