MT. WASHINGTON, KY - (WAVE) - Two Bullitt County families are speaking out about the deadly drunk driving accident that changed their lives last summer after the woman responsible for the crash was released from prison much earlier than they expected.
Judge Rodney Burress granted shock probation to 19-year-old Heather Woloch on July 2. Woloch has been serving time since she was sentenced on May 20 after being convicted of driving drunk when her car hit an embankment on Bardstown Road in July of 2009 and flipped. Her boyfriend, 22-year-old Joshua Bartley, was killed in the crash.
Joshua's parents, John and Melissa Bartley, say they expected Woloch to serve at least nine months of her 5-year sentence.
"All of us - you look back and remember 19, you don't remember a lot. It's a long time ago," John Bartley said. "I think that ought to be changed. When it's nine months, nine months ought to be nine months."
John Bartley says he supports rehabilitation but feels Woloch deserved more punishment for what she did. He says shock probation is ineffective.
"People make mistakes because you're human," John said. "And you ought to do your best to help that. But when you say nine months - which nine months is not a long time - and then you cut it down to 40-something days - 40-something days is the blink of an eye," John said. "You're asking a parent who lost a child. I don't believe they could ask for enough justice."
Melissa Bartley says she disagrees with Judge Burress's decision and says it sends the wrong message.
"When you take someone's life, you made a mistake," Melissa said. "But it wasn't a mistake - a mistake can be fixed. She made a conscious choice to drink that night, to drink in excess. And it cost my son his life."
Heather Woloch's parents, Chuck and Charlotte, say they "can't change what happened" and called Joshua's death "something their daughter will regret for the rest of her life. It hurts her everyday."
While they are pleased that shock probation was granted, Chuck Woloch says Joshua's death has changed their family forever.
"From our point of view, this has caused so much tension within our family with all of us, with Heather," he said. "Although we do still have her, she is changed. She is not the same girl."
The Wolochs described Heather as "strong" before the accident that left her so shaken, she attempted to take her own life according to her father Chuck. As a child, Charlotte said a band-aid could easily cure a scratched knee but she described the last year's events as something a mother cannot repair.
"We have lost something too - nothing that compares to what the Bartleys have lost and our hearts go out to them," Chuck said. "We are so sorry for the way everything went. As is Heather."
Heather declined our request for an interview at the Bullitt County Detention Center. She is expected to be released in the coming weeks.