Family of Drunken Driving Victim Upset With Plea Bargain

By Beacon Staff

KALISPELL (AP) – The family of a Somers man who was struck and killed by a drunken driver is unhappy with a plea agreement in which the driver could serve as little as a year in prison, followed by alcohol treatment.

Daniel W. Resler, 32, has pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide for the March 2007 deaths of pedestrians Brad Williams, 19, of Somers and 16-year-old Kyle McCullugh of Kalispell.

Tests showed Resler’s blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit, court records said.

“I really have a problem with the way this is being handled, from the top down,” said Williams’ mother, Carla Hayek.

In exchange for Resler’s guilty plea, prosecutors are recommending Resler receive two 30-year prison sentences — each with 25 years suspended — to run concurrently.

He would be incarcerated for at least one year before becoming eligible for an intensive, six-month treatment program for felony DUI offenders at Montana State Hospital in Warm Springs.

After completing that program, Resler would be considered for placement in a prerelease center or other intensive supervision program.

“Justice to me … after killing two young men is not a year and a half,” Hayek said. “I think he should serve one year for every year of life he took.”

District Judge Kim Christopher is not obligated to follow the plea deal when she sentences Resler on March 4 in Plains.

Sanders County Attorney Coleen I. Magera has said the terms of the plea agreement were reached in light of “several evidentiary concerns that had to be considered in the negotiations.”

Hayek said her family was left out of the plea-bargain process and informed of Magera’s decision only after the deal was struck.