Sergeant Gets Seven Years for Iraq Humvee Crash

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An Army sergeant who was accused of driving recklessly in a Humvee (search) in Iraq when it flipped and crushed a soldier was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to seven years in prison, a military spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Sgt. Oscar Nelson III, 25, of Dundalk was accused of driving erratically and at excessive speed when the vehicle rolled over and killed Spc. Nathaniel Caldwell Jr. (search) in the early hours of May 21.

A military judge found Nelson guilty of involuntary manslaughter, making a false official statement and obstruction of justice, Army spokeswoman Maj. Josslyn Aberle (search) said in an e-mailed statement from Iraq. He could have received life in prison on a charge of unpremeditated murder during the general court-martial in Tikrit that ended Monday.

Aberle said in the statement that Nelson pleaded "guilty to some of the charges," but it was unclear from the statement which ones, or if the plea was part of a deal with prosecutors.

E-mail messages sent Wednesday by The Associated Press to Aberle in Iraq seeking clarification and requesting comment from Nelson and his attorney weren't immediately returned.

The conviction was appealed automatically, and Nelson will be dishonorably discharged, Aberle said in the statement.

Nelson and Caldwell, 27, served with the 404th Aviation Support Battalion of the 4th Infantry Division. Nelson repaired generators, and Caldwell was a tank mechanic and an aspiring minister from Arizona.