The mother of the man Christopher Olah killed hesitated slightly when the judge asked whether she wanted to withdraw from the plea agreement that would give Olah a 13-year sentence.
But Jodi Harris’ hesitation didn’t last long, and she told Russell County Circuit Court Judge George Greene to continue with the Wednesday guilty plea of Olah, 22.
The Hurtsboro, Ala., man admitted to the June 26 manslaughter of Travis Harris, 20, in a one-vehicle accident. The pair and Olah’s wife and two children were returning from Panama City, Fla., when the 2000 Chevrolet Blazer that Olah was driving overturned several times on County Road 49 before hitting a tree, prosecutors said. Olah had been drinking for several hours before getting behind the wheel and hadn’t had anything to eat, said Frank Patterson, his attorney. While his client said he thought a tire had blown o u t , h e a c c e p t e d responsibility.
“He admitted to me that he realized his behavior was reckless,” Patterson said. “He realizes he’s responsible for the death of the victim.”
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Olah said he was going about 60 mph in a 55 mph zone and that he breathed an 0.13 on a scale that lists 0.08 as legally drunk. He had just crossed into Russell County when Chief Deputy District Attorney Buster Landreau said he swerved off both sides of the road a few times before the vehicle started to turn over.
Olah’s 3-year-old son was ejected from the vehicle. Harris died of blunt force injuries.
Landreau said Olah was taken to The Medical Center. He was arrested July 12.
Before moving on to the next case, Patterson told Greene that even though it wasn’t yet time for sentencing, his client wanted to speak to his friend’s mother.
Jodi Harris cried as Olah apologized.
“Jodi, I am truly sorry,” he said. “If I could take anything back, I would.”