Woman gets 10 years for fatal Harris wreck

Driver had used Ecstasy, authorities said

tchitwood@ledger-enquirer.comApril 25, 2014 

A woman who was just 17 when her one-car wreck killed one passenger and crippled another in Harris County has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for driving under the influence of drugs.

Now 19 years old, Jessica M. Nicholson pleaded guilty to first-degree homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence of drugs and causing serious injury by vehicle. Superior Court Judge Ron Mullins sentenced her to 15 years in prison with 10 to serve.

A motorist who witnessed the wreck on Interstate 185 at mile marker 33 estimated Nicholson’s 2008 Scion was going south at 85 mph when it ran off the road’s right side. Investigators said Nicholson swerved left and lost control, the car then veering off the left side and into the median, where it hit a steel grate and rolled six times.

Hannah Stroup, 19, of Cartersville, Ga., was thrown from the car, which crushed her as it rolled over, authorities said. Terry Delpizzo, a Fort Benning soldier who was 20 years old when the wreck happened at 7:42 a.m. Nov. 1, 2012, also was ejected, investigators said.

The impact broke Delpizzo’s neck and spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down, authorities said. Before the wreck, Delpizzo had served the Army in Afghanistan and Germany, according to court records.

Two other passengers were not seriously injured.

Investigators said the group had been partying all night in Atlanta before they tried to rush Delpizzo back to Fort Benning. They said tests showed Nicholson had been using “Ecstasy” or MDMA, sometimes called "Molly.”

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