Archive for Sunday, June 26, 2005

Driver receives maximum sentence for triple fatality

June 26, 2005


— A woman who was stopped twice for speeding before a traffic accident that killed three people has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison for involuntary manslaughter.

Jennifer Adams, 28, of Edgewater, Colo., received the maximum sentence of 86 months in prison for three counts of involuntary manslaughter, Sherman County Atty. Bonnie Selby said.

She also was sentenced Friday to 34 months for aggravated battery and six months each for driving under the influence and transporting an open container, but those sentences will be served concurrently with the 86-month sentence.

A crash on Interstate 70, just west of the Thomas County line, killed three women from Goodland and injured two children in June 2004. The victims were: Aline Becker, 85; her daughter, Mary Wyant, 55; and her granddaughter, Christine Williams, 35.

Williams' son and daughter were injured. Their westbound sport utility vehicle was struck from behind by the car Adams was driving.

About 30 family members and friends of the victims attended the sentencing.

"We just asked the judge to hold her responsible for her actions on that day, when she chose to drink and drive and caused the wreck that killed three generations of our family," said Eugene Becker, the son of Aline Becker and brother of Mary Wyant.

According to testimony at the preliminary hearing, Adams' blood alcohol level after the accident was measured at 0.265 percent, more than three times the level considered evidence of intoxication.

The trooper who stopped her for speeding - twice within about five miles - testified that he couldn't smell alcohol on her breath. Adams was clocked at 96 miles per hour on one stop and 104 mph on the other.

The trooper testified that on both stops he observed Adams closely, and she was able to sort through her wallet to find her driver's license and proof of insurance without fumbling.

At the time of the accident, Adams was on leave from her job as a third-grade teacher.

Prosecutors had charged her with second-degree murder, with involuntary manslaughter as an alternative, and she pleaded guilty in a plea agreement in April to involuntary manslaughter, aggravated battery, driving under the influence and transporting an open container of alcohol.

Adams also was ordered to pay $700 in fines and $15,000 in restitution to the state's crime victim compensation fund, which gave $5,000 each to the families of the victims.


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