Tears fill courtroom as maximum sentence imposed on drunken driver who killed Munroe Falls teen

It didn’t matter if it was baseball or football. Andrew Moncheck, who played both sports at Stow-Munroe Falls High School, always wanted his coaches and teammates to turn to him when the game was on the line.
That’s how Richard Moncheck remembered his son, who was killed by a drunken driver last summer, in the early hours of July 12, as the close-knit family was making plans for Andrew’s graduation party the next day.
There were no seats left in the courtroom Tuesday morning when the Akron man who took that young life, David R. Brown, 40, was sentenced for his crimes.
Common Pleas Judge Alison McCarty gave Brown the maximum sentence allowed, five years in prison, for his guilty plea to aggravated vehicular homicide and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
Brown’s driver’s license was suspended for life and he was given the maximum fine of $1,000 for his plea to a third-degree felony.
Before sentencing, stories of the short life of Andrew Moncheck, 18, left friends and family members from both his side and the defendant’s quietly weeping with nearly every word.
Richard Moncheck, who had coached Andrew since his tee-ball years, said there were few high school competitors like him.
“Andrew mostly played running back because of his speed. I really felt he loved football more than baseball. He certainly was never the biggest kid on the field, but he played with a huge heart and loved the contact,” Moncheck said.
When it was baseball season and there were two outs with runners on, Andrew wanted to be the one “to drive the runners home,” his father recalled. “Same goes with football. If we were winning the game and had to run the clock out, he wanted the ball to get the first down.
“He was just that kind of kid. He gave it all or nothing, and never a worry in between.”
The last time he saw his son was July 10, when he helped fix the side mirror on Andrew’s car.
“After we finished the job, he gave me a big hug. I never thought, in my many years, that would be the last physical connection I would have with my son,” Moncheck said.
On the night of the crash, Andrew was returning with friends from a concert in Cleveland. According to Ohio Highway Patrol records, Brown was traveling southbound on Interstate 77 in Bath Township when he struck the rear of the car Moncheck was riding in as a front-seat passenger.
Moncheck was ejected through the side window. He was taken to Akron General Medical Center, where he died from severe head injuries about a week later.
“He had so much to live for. When Mr. Brown gets out of jail,” Richard Moncheck said, “he will have the rest of his life and he will be back with his family and friends. We have nothing left but memories of our son, Andrew. For the rest of our lives, there will be a big hole in our hearts.”
Christine Moncheck recalled her son’s “quirky sense of humor that made us all laugh, even at times when he was trying to be serious.”
With his unique “style and swag” she said, “he always had to be different. But he would always greet you with a big smile and the best hug. How I miss those hugs.”
His older sister, Allison, said that as a little boy Andrew loved to rough-house and pull her long hair — once even knocking out a couple of her baby teeth.
But as they grew, they became closer “and told each other everything,” she said. In his death, she said she “lost my little brother — and my best friend.”
Brown’s father, mother, older brother and three friends spoke before him, asking the court for mercy. When it was Brown’s time, he stood at the courtroom podium and apologized to the Moncheck family.
“I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time, and it seems like an eternity,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for a good opportunity to look into the eyes of Mr. and Mrs. Moncheck and say from the bottom of my heart, from the bottom of my soul, that I am sorry.”
He said he was sorry for what happened on the night of the accident and, if only he had been sober, “would have gladly and unconditionally” traded places with Andrew.

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Michael Harvey

Michael Harvey has been a contributing writer and journalist for the Pluto Daily since January 2014.