Jeffrey Skinner, 45, of Groton was sentenced to 4-12 years in state prison after being convicted for vehicular manslaughter in the first degree. He was also sentenced to 1-3 yeras for two counts of driving while intoxicated, and 2-4 years for leaving the scene of a personal injury incident without reporting. The sentences will run concurrently.
Skinner pleaded guilty in May to the charges. He admitted to driving while intoxicated on May 3, 2020, hitting and killing Cornell University professor Jerrie Gavalchin, 64, also of Groton. Galvachin had been walking her bicycle along the fog line of Lick Street when Skinner hit her. The maximum possible sentence was 5-15 years.
Samantha Batt and Carl Batt, the daughter and husband of Gavalchin, spoke at the sentencing hearing, and each gave a description of their loss and the need for accountability and consequences for the defendant’s decision to drink and drive, then leave the scene after the fatal collision, according to the District Attorney’s office.
District Attorney Matthew Van Houten said “it is my hope that the sentence imposed in this case will serve as a deterrent and an example of the devastating consequences of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Nothing the criminal justice system can do will ever provide true justice or closure to the victim’s family, but I believe that the Court’s sentence today is a fair and appropriate outcome under the parameters of New York State law.”