Man sentenced to 5 years probation for crash that killed girlfriend

BY STEPHEN DEERE • sdeere@post-dispatch.com  


May 11, 2012 : Judge Julian Bush had never faced a tougher decision: how to punish Arron Herring – who didn't intend to kill his girlfriend, Ashley Brenner, but nonetheless, took her life with a series of reckless decisions. “I have been a judge for 17 years,” said Bush, a St. Louis Circuit Court Judge. “I have not had a case more difficult than this.” On Friday, Bush granted Herring a suspended imposition of sentence and placed him on 5 years probation. If Herring is charged with a crime while on probation, he could receive as many as 7 years in prison, the maximum for a Class C Felony. Herring is also to perform eight hours of community service each month while on probation. He can not apply to re-instate his driving privilege for at least two years, the judge ruled. Herring pleaded guilty in March to a charge of first-degree involuntary manslaughter. On July, 5, 2010, Herring was speeding down Holly Hills Avenue, while arguing with Brenner. Herring ran a stop sign at January Ave and collided with another vehicle. Herring's 1996 Ford Explorer then ricocheted o eight parked cars, and didn't stop until more than 50 yards later when it rammed into and toppled a concrete light pole. Brenner was thrown from the car and died from her injuries. Prosecutor John R. Mantovani reminded the judge that Herring told two investigators he intentionally ran the stop sign to scare Brenner during the argument. “The last thing she remembered is probably what he intended,” Mantovani said. “She was scared.” Mantovani asked Bush to give Herring a three-year prison sentence. Brenner's mom Pamela Schmidt told Bush she had frequent nightmares about her daughter's death. “Ashley was so full of life,” Schmidt said. “I miss everything about her … I ask for justice.” Schmidt, who had previously said she hoped Herring would receive prison time, left the courtroom in tears. During the sentencing hearing, Herring apologized to Brenner's family. “I'm so sorry for your loss,” he said. “I loved her so much. She was my best friend.” Herring married one of Brenner's friends less than six months after her death. The couple has a three-month old daughter. Herring's lawyer, David J. Ferman, said he was pleased with the judge's decision, but, he added: “In a case like this, there are no winners and losers.”

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