by Staff Sgt. Mike Meares
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs
7/31/2013 - SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- A
senior airman assigned to the 82nd Dental Squadron at Sheppard Air
Force Base was sentenced to 30 months confinement, a bad conduct
discharge and reduction to the lowest enlisted grade after admitting she
drove drunk and caused an off-base vehicle collision resulting in the
death of a base civilian employee in June of 2012.
Senior Airman Anjelika L. Faul pled guilty to one specification of
drunken or reckless operation of a motor vehicle, a violation of Article
111, Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), and one specification of
involuntary manslaughter, a violation of UCMJ Article 119, during a
general court-martial here July 29-30.
Faul faced a maximum sentence of 10 years and six months in prison, a
dishonorable discharge, total forfeiture of pay and allowances and a
reduction to the rank of airman basic for her role in the vehicle
accident that claimed the life of Michael David Brown on June 16, 2012.
Brown worked as a packing and crating specialist in the 82d Logistics
Readiness Squadron at the time of his death. He was also a retired Air
Force master sergeant who worked in security forces, safety and as a
military training leader while in the military.
Lt. Col. Natalie Richardson, the military judge, presided over the
court-martial. In a prepared series of responses read after pleading
guilty, Faul told her side of the story, fighting through her tears.
During the first day of a two-day trial, Faul described the timeline
events of June 15, 2012, from approximately 9 p.m. that night until
approximately 6 a.m. the next morning.
She recalled a series of decisions during a night out with friends and
other Airmen, which ultimately led to Brown's death. Throughout the
night, Faul calculated she consumed about 20 servings of liquor with
very little to eat.
"It was Friday night and our plan was to hang out and drink," Faul said.
She also noted that she had recently returned from a deployment to
Southwest Asia and missed her family and friends while she was gone.
In a statement made to the court, Faul explained she received a phone
call in the early morning hours of June 16 about a friend who was at
United Regional Hospital for treatment. She said she made the decision
to go to the hospital, knowing she was drunk, but felt it was important
to be with her friend.
Faul's friend, a fellow airman from the 82nd Dental Squadron, told her
not to come to the hospital because it was not that serious. The friend
also asked Faul if she was sure she was ok to drive since she'd seen her
drinking at a local bar earlier that night.
"Altogether, I had too much alcohol to have driven," she said.
Faul continued, telling the court how she had a general idea regarding
the exact location of the hospital and was driving there on intuition.
When she realized she missed the hospital exit while driving north on
I-44, she pulled over to the shoulder near the Missile Road exit and
decided to make an illegal u-turn through the grassy median to go in the
"I think I looked to see if anyone was there," she read. "I didn't see
anyone. The next thing I remember is the impact. I didn't see a
motorcycle and was surprised by the impact."
Faul stated that after the impact, she got out of her car and looked over and saw a female standing in the highway screaming.
At the scene, Faul remembered standing frozen, in shock, completely surprised by the events and being disconnected from them.
She was taken by police car to United Regional Hospital, where she was
administered a mandatory blood test that revealed her blood alcohol
level to be 0.24, three times the legal limit in the state of Texas
(.08) and more than twice the acceptable limit allowed by the UCMJ
A full toxicology report showed that Brown was sober at the time at the time of the collision.
Waking up in jail after she was booked, Faul remembered thinking about the nightmare she was experiencing.
"I thought I would be in jail forever," she said. "I never wanted anything like this to happen."
Speaking directly to the military judge, Lt Col Richardson, Faul stated
she remembered Brown being a patient of hers at the base dental clinic
and that her driving while intoxicated and making an illegal u-turn were
the reasons why Brown is now dead.
"Because I did all of those things," Faul tearfully said to the military
judge, "Mr. Brown is dead and I will have to live with that for the
rest of my life."
After Faul made her statement to the judge, the judge accepted her
guilty plea and the Government began the sentencing phase of the trial.
The morning that Brown was killed, he was on his routine Saturday
morning motorcycle ride to meet up and eat breakfast at the Burkburnett
diner with fellow military veterans, according to statements provided to
the military judge during the trial.
Brown's father, Floyd Brown, is also a retired Air Force member, and his
sister, Sharon Bean, wrote a statement to the judge on behalf of the
family for the trial, expressing the depth of their loss and telling the
judge about Brown and what a great brother, son and uncle he was.
Several members of Brown's unit also testified.
"If you needed anything, (Brown) would be the first to help," said Staff
Sgt Lasondra Anderson, 82d LRS Unit Deployment Manager. "He was the
first to come...and last to leave."
Airman 1st Class Nathan Zachary, who worked with Brown in the packing and crating section recounted how Brown had mentored him.
"(Brown) was a mentor to me in many ways," the airman said. "He was a father figure...a professional mentor."
Zachary also talked about how Brown kept morale up in the shop by
telling stories in the back office of their shop and how difficult it
was to go to work after the accident.
"Me and some of my co-workers couldn't go into the back office, because that's where we remember him best," Zachary said.
According to his former supervisors, on a professional level, the loss
of Brown has also had negative consequences to the 82nd LRS mission.
"His loss was especially impactful because of his continuity," said
Master Sergeant Douglas Hirschfield, former superintendent of cargo at
the 82nd LRS and now stationed at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo, referring
to how civilians help maintain a constant presence in the unit despite
the military personnel rotating due to deployments, permanent
change-of-station moves and other duty assignments.
During the second day of proceedings, character witnesses and family
members were called to the stand to testify on Faul's behalf in regards
to her upbringing that was marred with drugs and alcohol by her
Those testifying included her father, half-sister and Tech Sgt. Jessica
Watkins, who supervised Faul's work as a dental technician at the 82nd
"One of the best Airmen who worked for me," the NCO said. "I never had
to question her work ethic. She's a good person and good people can make
Before closing arguments on the second day of the trial, Faul read an
unsworn statement, standing in front of the bench facing the judge in
her full service-dress uniform.
"Every time I get into a vehicle, I think about (Mr. Brown)," Faul told
the judge as she tearfully choked through the words. "Every time I see a
motorcycle, I think of him...I'm deeply sorry. I am determined to be
the best person I can be."
Both sides came to a pretrial agreement that included a condition that a
sentence of confinement not to exceed five years. Under the terms of
the plea agreement, if the judge had sentenced Faul to more than five
years in jail, the convening authority would only have been authorized
to approve a five-year sentence. Because the judge sentenced her to
thirty months confinement, the pretrial agreement will not impact Faul's
actual sentence served.