Ashburn man pleads guilty in fatal drunk driving case
An Ashburn man accused of killing two people in a drunken car crash in October pleaded guilty today in Loudoun County Circuit Court.
Mark Sgarlata, 53, pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence for the deaths of Patrick Wrenn Jr., 46, and Leia Wrenn, 44.
“I'm pleading guilty because I committed the offense and I feel this is the best way to go at this time,” Sgarlata told Judge Burke McCahill during the 30-minute hearing.
He was scheduled to face a jury trial next week.
Sgarlata faces one to 20 years in prison on each count of aggravated involuntary manslaughter and one year of incarceration and a $2,500 fine for the DUI charge.
He will remain on bond until Aug. 7, when he's set to turn himself in to start his prison term while he awaits sentencing.
A sentencing hearing is set for Dec. 12 at 1 p.m.
The Wrenns died Oct. 6 after they were struck by Sgarlata, who was driving a BMW about 12:50 a.m. after a night of drinking.
Sgarlata was turning left into Ashburn's Junction Plaza shopping center when he hit the couple, who were riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. They were thrown from the bike and later died at an area hospital.
According to witness testimonies at a November preliminary hearing, Sgarlata's blood alcohol level at the scene of the crash was .223. A test given later at the jail registered a .15, still nearly twice the legal limit to drive in Virginia.
Loudoun County Sheriff's Deputy M.L. Franks, one of the responding officers, testified that Sgarlata failed field sobriety tests at the scene of the wreck. During the heel-to-toe walk, Franks said, Sgarlata walked into a police cruiser and twice fell when trying to stand on one foot before Franks aborted any extra attempts.
“The test couldn't be done,” Franks said. “There was no point in risking his safety or having him fall into traffic.”