Allison Rydberg Pleads Guilty to Vehicular Manslaughter, Faces up to Seven Years

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Allison Jane Rydberg, a 26-year-old Hampton Bays woman who was found to be drunk behind the wheel on April 19 when she crashed her car in Southampton Village—injuring herself and killing her passenger, Jason H. Pollak—pleaded guilty last month to vehicular manslaughter.

Her attorney, Tad Scharfenberg, of East Hampton, said Rydberg will be sentenced under a plea agreement to two-and-one-third to seven years in prison.

“These cases are always difficult,” Scharfenberg said Tuesday. “I think it’s a result that’s devastating to both sides. I can understand how the victim’s family will not feel it’s enough.”

According to Southampton Village police, Rydberg crashed into a tree while driving a 1997 Toyota Avalon around 2:30 a.m. at the Montauk Highway and Flying Point Road intersection. Pollak, 24, of Water Mill, was taken by Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance to Southampton Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Rydberg was initially charged with driving while intoxicated. A grand jury indicted her June 9, and when an indictment was unsealed June 23, she faced new charges including second-degree manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and aggravated DWI.

Rydberg pleaded guilty on November 21 to a top charge of vehicular manslaughter with a blood alcohol content of .18% or higher, a felony. That would place her blood alcohol content at the time of the accident at more than twice the legal limit. She additionally pleaded guilty to aggravated DWI, a misdemeanor, and speeding, a traffic infraction.

“Every time she’s in court, she cries,” Scharfenberg said of his client. “She can’t believe that she is where she is and that this occurred.”

He added that Rydberg and her family are searching for a way to heal the situation, and she hopes for forgiveness.

Rydberg is currently free on $75,000 bail. She is slated to be sentenced by Judge Fernando Camacho on February 19, 2015.

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