PONTIAC (WWJ) – A Bloomfield Township man has been sentenced to 25 to 40 years behind bars for a crash that killed a mother of three.
Prosecutors say Gregory Belkin had been drinking and was bragging to his girlfriend on the phone that he was going up to 150 miles-per-hour in his Maserati right before he rear-ended a car driven by on Square Lake Road, just west of Woodward Avenue, last January.
The other driver, 53-year-old Rhonda Williams, died at a local hospital.
Appearing in orange prison garb, a waist chain and handcuffs at his sentencing, Belkin was also ordered to pay $5,721 in funeral expenses and restitution.
Speaking to WWJ’s Mike Campbell and other reporters, defense Attorney Loren Dickstein said his client’s state of mind was a factor in the crash.
“He was dating someone very seriously, he was in love, and on that day asked her if she would marry him, and she indicated she would not,” Dickstein said. “Being an alcoholic and someone who was depressed, he went to use alcohol as a way to cope, and everyone’s lives changed as a result of that.”
An investigation found the Maserati’s event data recorder showed Belkin was traveling approximately 144 mph moments before impact; and Belkin’s BAC was .315.
Belkin was laughing at the scene following the crash, according to a police report, but he was tearful Thursday as he apologized in court.
“Every time I met with him, literally every time without exception, he cried,” Dickstein said stressed.
. “Not for himself, but for Miss. Williams, Rhonda Williams and her family. And he wishes, and has said to me many times if he could change, not just not make it happen again — but he said to me if he could switch places with her he would without hesitation.”
Belkin, a U.S. Coast Guard employee, pleaded no contest to a second degree murder charge in July.
Judge Denise Langford Morris said it was truly a miracle only one life was lost, calling the case the most egregious drunken driving crash she’s seen.