Release Date: Monday, November 1, 2010 4:58 p.m.
Harvey L. Bryant, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, announced today that Christopher D. Dockiewicz, 45 years old, who previously resided in the 2400 block of Pitchfork Way, Virginia Beach, Virginia, was sentenced today on two counts of Aggravated Involuntary Manslaughter and one count of Driving under the Influence of Alcohol. The Honorable Edward W. Hanson ordered him to serve a total of 40 years in the Virginia Department of Corrections and 12 months in the Virginia Beach Correctional Center. Of that sentence, 26 years were suspended, leaving Dockiewicz an active sentence of 15 years to serve. Dockiewicz entered a guilty plea on August 3, 2010.
Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth’s evidence would have proved that on January 19, 2010, Anthony and Jean Mary Tonking were visiting their daughter and grandchildren in Virginia Beach. The couple decided to spend the day at Munden Point Park. That afternoon they were driving back on Princess Anne Road when Dockiewicz, drunk and speeding at estimates of 77-100 miles per hour, lost control of his car, came into their lane, slammed into their car, and ultimately killed them.
During the investigation police learned Dockiewicz was driving to his son’s school to pick him up when he caused the wreck. A forensic expert would have testified that his BAC at the time was between .13 and .16. Drivers are presumed to be intoxicated at .08 BAC. Dockiewicz had no prior DUIs.
At the sentencing hearing today, family from England and the United States testified about their indescribable pain. Paul Tonking, the victims’ son, told how his parents were memorialized and cremated on what would have been their 53rd wedding anniversary. Julie Olszewski, the victim’s daughter, told the court how her parents gave their lives that day to save Dockiewicz’s son. Olszewski said they not only saved his son but other children who would have been at the school when Dockiewicz arrived.
Judge Hanson remarked that this was the worst case of drinking and driving that he’s seen in more than 25 years. He told both families, “I can’t imagine the sorrow, the grief, the horror, of the scene that day…or the grief, the sorrow, that everyone feels.” Before pronouncing his sentence he told both families, “I wish to God we could go back to noon on January 19th.” Judge Hanson hoped his sentence would act as a deterrence to others when sentencing Dockiewicz above the high end of the guidelines of 10 years and 1 month.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys Katherine E. Orsini and L. Diane Nelms prosecuted the case. Please call Macie Pridgen if additional information is desired.