Appeal of plea denied

ALBANY – A?court has denied the appeal of a driver sentenced to prison after striking two Jefferson County motorcyclists in 2010, killing one of them.

Sybil D. Monk, 37, of Fort Plain appealed her judgment after pleading guilty in January 2011 in Montgomery County Court to aggravated vehicular homicide.

Monk caused a crash in July 2010 that killed Bruce Gilmore, 66, of Wellesley Island, and injured Douglas Estelle, 48, of Clayton. She was driving west on Route 5 with two of her children, ages 4 and 13 at the time, when she crossed the center line in front of Lee Publications in Palatine Bridge and struck the eastbound motorcyclists, authorities said.

She failed sobriety tests after the crash and was under the influence of prescription drugs at the time of the accident, authorities said. She was sentenced to state prison for six to 18 years.

In her appeal to the state Supreme Court Appellate Division’s Third Judicial Department, Monk disputed the court’s judgment on the grounds her plea was “not knowing, intelligent and voluntary,” according to court documents.

However, the court, in a ruling issued Thursday, said the record does not show Monk tried to withdraw her plea.

Montgomery County District Attorney James “Jed” Conboy said he thinks the situation is sad for everyone involved in the case.

“Monk had two children and now she’s in state prison, and those children don’t have a mother,” Conboy said. “And the two families of the motorcyclists are in an unfortunate state as well. The deceased motorcyclist had just retired from his job and was planning on spending his golden years in comfort with his wife when he died. And the other motorcyclist was seriously injured and he owned a heating and cooling contracting business.”

Conboy said he hopes others learn from the case. “You shouldn’t abuse your prescription drugs and get behind the wheel,” he said.