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December 28, 2012

Driver gets 15 years for Dancin’ crash that killed two

Cleveland--The man whose drunken crash through the barricades of Dancin’ in the Streets on July 29 ended two lives was sentenced to 15 years in prison on December 12.

Timothy Spock, 35, pleaded guilty last month to four counts, two of aggravated vehicular homicide, one of aggravated vehicular assault and one of driving under the influence. He was indicted on seven charges in August, including one of vehicular homicide and another two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide.

Neither the prosecutors nor the defense believed there was any malice towards the LGBT community or the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland, the organization benefits from Dancin’. Spock’s attorney said that his client was reaching down to pick up a dropped, lit cigarette as he drove his Scion xB, and did not see the barricades on Clifton Boulevard at West 117th Street.

Mitchell Andelmo, 27, died the next day, and Basil Bass, 44, died two days after that. Andelmo’s girlfriend, Constance Pokorny, survived but suffered permanent brain damage, which causes her to have seizures.

Spock had two prior convictions for drinking and driving, as well as a disorderly conduct charge last June and a September 2009 charge of child endangering while intoxicated. The last two charges were both in Lakewood, where Spock lives a few blocks from the Dancin’ site.

“I was looking at behind the food court [at Dancin’] to see who was at Twist, and I heard what sounded really like an explosion,” attorney Nancy Marcus said a few days after the incident. “There were barricades flying in the air. The tent where my friend had been sitting, volunteering, taking donations at the entrance, that tent and the chair were flying in the air and I thought she was dead. Luckily, she had been taking a break.”

Tracy Jones, the CEO of the AIDS Taskforce, was the first to get to Andelmo after he was struck.

“Everyone was having such a good time. It was a beautiful day,” she said. “It was on track to be one of the best Dancin’ in the Streets ever, and everyone was totally changed.”

A vigil was held on July 31 at the site of the crash, and community members organized a dinner dance to benefit the families and help pay for funeral and medical costs.

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