CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – A South Carolina woman accused of killing a CMPD dispatcher and injuring several others while driving impaired on I-77 in April pleaded guilty in court Thursday.
Trisha Thompson took a plea deal in Mecklenburg County Court. She was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and felony death by motor vehicle.
The charges stem from a crash that happened at about 7:30 p.m. on April 5, 2018. Prosecutors say Thompson was merging into the right lane on I-77 southbound near the state line when she rear-ended a Chrysler van. The van then hit a pick-up truck that was on the side of the road.
Nicole Schieb, a CMPD dispatcher, was riding in the van along with her brother, a CMPD police officer, and two of their relatives. Schieb was pronounced dead on the scene.
“As a result of that collision, Nicole Schieb was thrown into the cargo area of the van and was pronounced deceased,” Prosecutors said in court.
Nicole’s 11-year-old niece was also severely injured in the wreck. The girl spent a week in the intensive care unit and has had several procedures since then.
“Our family lost a mother, a daughter, a sister, and our family has been in an incredible amount of pain since that night,” Nicole’s father, Phil Schieb said.
At most, Thompson could have been sentenced 204 months in prison for the felony death by motor vehicle offense and 88 months in prison for the assault with a deadly weapon offense.
As part of the plea deal, attorneys agreed to a negotiated sentence. Thompson will serve 120 days in the Mecklenburg County Jail, followed by probation for 36 months.
Several family members of Schieb spoke in court, asking the judge to add one more condition to her sentence.
“She can now make another decision to prevent others from making the same mistake that she made that night, again, we ask that she go speak about the horrible ramifications from that decision that night,” Nicole’s brother Ryan Schieb said.
Judge Casey Viser granted their request. As part of her sentencing, she is required to speak to a high school within a 50-mile radius of Charlotte for at least 45 minutes about her actions that night, in the hopes that others won’t make the same mistake.
While Thompson is on probation, she is not allowed to drink alcohol or drive. However, if she ever gets her license back, Judge Viser is requiring her to put a bumper sticker bearing Nicole’s name on any car she might drive.
“I don’t want you to ever forget, I don’t want you to ever get in the car again, in the driver’s seat and not think about Nicole,” Judge Viser said.
Nicole’s coworkers showed up to the hearing in support of the Schiebs. They say Nicole had a friendly soul they will always miss. They hope the additional conditions of Thompson’s sentencing will resonate with her.
“The defendant’s decision to drink and drive impacted so many people, she did not just take a life with her decision,” said Nicole’s coworker Dre Galloway.
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