LINWOOD, Pa. (WPVI) -- David Strowhouer, a five-time DUI offender faced a judge for his 6th DUI offense. Shackled in cuffs, he did not speak as he left the courtroom. The last incident he was allegedly involved in ended in tragedy.
He's accused of being drunk last month when he crashed into a car that Deana Eckman was riding in. Strowhouer walked away, 45-year-old Eckman died.
"There is a lot of family and friends who are devastated by this tragic loss that could have been prevented. It's been a long difficult road for all of us," said Roseann DeRosa, Eckman's mother.
Eckman's family showed up in full force at the preliminary hearing. Strowhouer has been charged with homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence and faces additional charges of third-degree murder and aggravated assault.
The District Attorney's office says he faces decades in prison.
"The third-degree murder charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 to 40 years. The Homicide by vehicle, while diving under the influence charge, carries a maximum sentence of 10 to 20 years but there is a seven-year mandatory minimum because the defendant has at least two prior convictions for DUI," said Dan McDevitt, Deputy District Attorney, Delaware County.
The night of the crash, police say Strowhouer was driving on a suspended license. His family didn't speak to us but spoke to Eckman's family in court.
"His brother and his brother's wife basically testified. They came up to me and they were crying and they apologized to me and they are going through a tragedy also," says DeRosa.
Eckmans' family is admittedly disappointed and puzzled about how a repeat offender slipped through the cracks so many times. Her mother knows she can't bring her daughter back but she's vowing to fight so no one else will experience the grief her family is going through.
"If I could prevent this from happening to another family that would be great. We are going to call it Deana's Law or Justice for Deana. Her life was cut short," says DeRosa.
The family is planning on filing a civil lawsuit.
The suspect remains locked up because bail was already denied.
The next court date is April 24.