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Traci Briskin sentenced up to 7.5 years in prison for fatal crash

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Albany/HV: Traci Briskin sentenced up to 7.5 years in prison for fatal crash
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The Clifton Park woman convicted in September for the death of a 49-year-old man has been sentenced in court. Innae Park was at the sentencing and has the latest.

SARATOGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- "He was a family man, he enjoyed his community and he was really beloved by his neighbors," said Saratoga County District Attorney Jim Murphy.

Thomas Baker of Charlton died days before Christmas last year. A month earlier, he had been hit on Route 67 when Traci Briskin ran a stop sign.

Murphy said, "A sentence of state prison is appropriate and is a deterrent to those people who are thinking about driving drunk or driving in a reckless way."

Found guilty of second degree manslaughter and driving while ability impaired (DWAI), Briskin admitted to swerving and taking her eyes off Jockey Street on November 30 to look for a fallen GPS. Throughout the trial, she claimed it was a mistake.

In a victim impact statement read Monday, Baker's wife, Tracey, said, "What you call an accident has torn my family apart."

"Ms. Briskin wanted to accept responsibility, but upon my advice, she couldn't because we didn't know if we were going to trial or not," said Kevin O'Brien, Briskin's attorney.

Before her sentencing, the nurse from Clifton Park did take responsibility, saying she would've switched places with Baker if she could.

Briskin said, "Not a day goes by that I don't talk to Tom, asking for healing for all of you."

While she said she'd accept whatever sentence the judge imposed, her attorney believes it was too harsh and couldn't see how either party would heal from it.

O'Brien said, "There's not many people among us who haven't missed a stop sign, haven't missed a road sign. To be sent to state prison for two-and-a-half to seven-and-a-half years before that, I guess I'm just lucky I haven't hit someone."

"The only victim in my mind is our deceased and his family," Murphy said.

Briskin was not found guilty of DWI. She had two glasses of wine with dinner earlier in the evening of November 30, 2012.

Baker leaves behind his wife and five children.

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