Vilseck soldier sentenced in death of moped rider
June 3, 2005
A Vilseck-based soldier will serve two years in prison for striking and killing a German motor scooter rider with his car last year, according to the 1st Infantry Division’s staff judge advocate.
Spc. Desean Ellis, 24, of the 1st ID’s 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, pleaded guilty to charges of negligent homicide, recklessly operating a motor vehicle, driving without a valid license, reckless destruction of the motor scooter and recklessly damaging his rental car, said Maj. Todd Federici, the SJA’s chief of criminal law.
Ellis was eastbound in a rented Mercedes Benz E 270 CDI on the B22 highway near Lettenhof, about eight miles northwest of the Grafenwöhr training area on Sept. 16, when the incident occurred.
According to a court document, it was foggy, and Ellis was driving 120 kilometers per hour (72 mph) in an 80 kph zone when he struck and killed Ljubow DeWald, a local woman who had slowed her scooter to make a turn.
A special agent from the Grafenwöhr Criminal Investigation Command questioned Ellis later that morning and learned Ellis had no driver’s license. A friend had rented the car for him the previous day, the court document said.
Col. Patrick Reinert, the military judge in the court-martial, ordered Ellis to forfeit all pay during his prison term and reduced him to the lowest enlisted rank.
He also sentenced Ellis to 2½ years in prison, but the sentence was reduced because of a plea bargain with prosecutors.