12 Years for Reno Man in Fatal DUI Hit-Run

A drunken driver who struck and killed a 13-year-old Reno girl in a crosswalk and drove off has been sentenced to at least 12 years in prison.

Matthew Arthur Fields, 26, earlier pleaded guilty to driving drunk and striking Linda Foldi as she rode her bike in front of her apartment building on South Meadows Parkway on Aug. 15, 2006.

Fields also pleaded guilty to asking his mother to convince his friend's parents to lie to police and say he began drinking alcohol when he drove to their home from the accident.

"I am so sorry," Fields said through tears to Foldi's family during Friday's sentencing hearing. "I am so sorry."

Linda's grandfather, Louis Foldi Sr., asked Fields to look at a picture of his granddaughter. Fields did, and burst into tears when the man said "You killed her."

Deputy District Attorney Bruce Hahn said Fields got out of his vehicle , looked at Foldi's lifeless body and told his passenger, "let's go."

While Fields left his friend, motorists and residents who poured into the streets called police.

Hahn said Field's Chevrolet Blazer was so damaged in the crash that officers found him by following a trail of leaking fluid. He struck Foldi driving 55 mph and his blood alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit.

Months before Foldi's death, a pregnant 15-year-old was killed down the block. Both deaths prompted city officials to install
traffic safety devices.

Elizabeth Crosbie said she still has to walk through the same crosswalk where her daughter died when she takes her other children to school at Double Diamond Elementary. Before the crash, the area was full of children playing and people walking their dogs. Now they don't, she said, because of traffic concerns.

"She was stolen from me, and I will never get over that," Crosbie said. "You mowed my daughter over like a dog or a rabbit and left her there with no regard to human life."

Washoe District Judge Robert Perry said his sentence was to ensure public safety and referred to Field's prior convictions for DUI and leaving the scene of an accident. Fields also was sent to a juvenile detention facility as a teen.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)