BRENTWOOD — A Sandown man admitted Friday to causing a motorcycle crash on Route 111 that killed his wife last September.
Mark Rogers, 48, of 199 Main St., pleaded guilty in Rockingham County Superior Court to aggravated drunken driving with serious bodily injury.
Rogers was sentenced to 12 months in county jail on the felony charge, but instead may spend about 14 days behind bars before being placed on electronic monitoring and work release.
House of Corrections employees would have to accept him into the electronic monitoring program for that to happen.
Prosecutors agreed to drop a negligent homicide charge against Rogers, which could have placed him in state prison for 3 ½ to 7 years.
“He was willing to take responsibility for that he did,” Assistant County Attorney Jerome Blanchard said about the plea agreement. “His history up until now is that he has been a hard-working, law-abiding person.”
On Sept. 12, 2010, Rogers and his wife, Gina, participated in a motorcycle benefit ride raising money for research into Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
Rogers was drinking at a Hampstead restaurant before and after the ride, then pulled out onto Route 111, according to Blanchard.
“He got about 1,000 feet from the restaurant before hitting a guard rail,” Blanchard told a judge on Friday.
Rogers lost control of his Harley Davidson motorcycle, causing Gina Rogers to fall off the bike, Blanchard said. She died from her injuries.
Gina Rogers' family — including her mother, two children and sister — agreed with the plea agreement, according to defense lawyer Andrew Cotrupi and prosecutors, which factored into the negotiations.
The family did not speak at the hearing, but pleaded with Judge Tina Nadeau through a series of letters asking her to show Rogers leniency.
“As a mother of the victim, I feel no amount of jail time will ever subdue the amount of pain and punishment he has put on himself for he has lost his soul mate and love of his life,” wrote Reval Hamel, Gina Rogers' mother. “I love Mark and always will and nothing will change that.”
Blood alcohol tests showed that Mark Rogers blood-alcohol level was over twice the legal limit of .08, Blanchard said.
Rogers said little during the brief hearing in Rockingham County Superior Court. Cotrupi said his client was too emotional to speak about the crash.
Gina Rogers, a mother of two, worked at the Rockingham County Probate Court.
Kassandra Rogers, the couple's youngest daughter, told the judge that her father was the only provider for their household after her mother's death. He was also the sole provider and taking care of Gina Roger's mother who lives with the family, according to the letters.
“I would prefer that my father stays right at home but I know that is not an option, so I ask gratefully that you do not have him away for long because my whole family and I need him here with us now more than ever as we all try to heal together in these painful times,” Kassandra Rogers wrote.
Nadeau ordered Rogers to undergo a 7-day multiple offender drunken driving program, which is a requirement that comes with a felony conviction.
He will also lose his driver's license for two years and remain on probation for a year after being freed from electronic monitoring, Blanchard said.
Nadeau said if Rogers violates his probation, prosecutors can return to court and ask for the state prison sentence of 3 ½ to 7 years to be imposed.