Greensburg, PA - A man was sentenced to a 12 plus years for the 2015 drunken driving death of Ligonier Township Police Lieutenant Eric Eslary.
Clair Fink III, age 33, was sentenced on Tuesday, February 21, 2017, by a Westmoreland County Judge. His charges included Third-degree Murder and Drunken Driving.
The incident occurred on May 24, 2015, according to Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Fink and a co-worker finished work at a swimming pool installation business that night and he consumed seven to nine 16-ounce beers. He was driving a work van home with his co-worker when they stopped at the Beehive strip club. After they left the strip club, Fink was driving east in the westbound lanes at around 2:00 AM before he slammed head-on into Lieutenant Eslary's patrol SUV.
Ligonier Township Lieutenant Eric Eslary, 40, was a 17-year veteran of the agency. He often worked the night shift with his K9 partner Blek, a German Shepherd, according to PennLive.
K9 Blek was badly injured in the crash but refused to leave his handler's side until Lieutenant Eslary's wife came to the scene. She was able to coax him away from Lieutenant Eslary. He was badly injured but later underwent surgery at a local veterinary hospital and has fully recovered. K9 Blek has retired and lives with Lieutenant Eslary's wife.
Lieutenant Eslary's wife Mary Beth was a 911 dispatcher at the time of the incident but she was off-duty. She is now the county's emergency management spokeswoman.
Lieutenant Eric Eslary was the father of six children.
In court on Tuesday, Fink apologized to the Lieutenant's family. His wife, Mary Beth, responded that she accepted his apology but will never forgive him. He will spend at least 12 years in prison.
Twelve years is not enough. The world lost a veteran police officer, and a family lost a husband and father. For his actions, Fink should spend the remainder of his life behind bars.
Lieutenant Eric Eslary, we remember you, and thank you for your service. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family, both blood and blue.
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