SOUTH RIVER – Area woman loses appeal against six-year prison sentence guilty plea to vehicular manslaughter for causing the death of a waste disposal worker while she was driving under the influence.
Phyllis Cochrane, 56, was sentenced to six years in state prison by Supreme Court Justice Michael Toto after she pleaded guilty in connection with Death of William Oros, 49, of North Brunswick in May 2018.
Authorities said Kacharan was intoxicated while driving her 2011 Jeep Wrangler on Pulau Avenue on the morning of May 3, 2018, when she hit Oros, who worked for a private waste recycling company.
Her blood alcohol level after the crash at 11:17 a.m. was 0.205%, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08%.
Oros was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where he was pronounced dead from blunt force trauma.
Cochran pleaded guilty to the second-degree felony as part of a plea deal with the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office that called for a six-year sentence with the condition that she serve 85 percent before becoming eligible for parole.
But Cochran appealed the sentence, arguing that her attorney did not argue for mitigating factors in the sentence and for not seeking a dismissal of the third-degree vehicular manslaughter charge.
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As part of her leniency arguments, Cochran said she was “disturbed” by the incident, performed CPR on Oros until paramedics arrived and cooperated with police. She also said she is battling alcoholism through Alcoholics Anonymous and has not driven since the day of the accident.
Cochran, who has no prior convictions, said her attorney should have made those points at the sentencing hearing.
But Toto denied her request for post-conviction relief, saying Cochran “failed to establish any deficiencies in her attorney’s performance and failed to show that she was prejudiced in any way by his representation.”
Cochran appealed Toth’s decision, but the Court of Appeal agreed with the Superior Court judge.
Cocharnan is scheduled to be released from prison on October 29.
Mike Dyck is a reporter for mycentraljersey.com. For unlimited access to his articles about Somerset and Hunterdon Counties, sign up or activate your digital account.