A woman who struck and killed another motorist in a head on collision while under the influence of alcohol was sentenced Tuesday to six years in state prison.
In June, 23 year old April Carole Thompson pled guilty to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, use of a deadly weapon causing great bodily harm, and driving with a blood alcohol level of .15 percent or higher after crashing her Chevrolet pickup truck head on into a 1970 Volkswagen Beetle on state Route 52 at approximately 1 a.m. on December 29, 2012.
According to court testimony provided by California Highway Patrol Officer Albert Udan, a big rig driver traveling in the eastbound lanes spotted the headlights traveling against the flow of traffic and slowed to pull off to the side of the road. After coming to a stop, 25 year old Alan Midlam’s vehicle passed by the big rig and was struck by Thompson. After the collision, Thompson then attempted to reverse her truck out of the wreckage of the accident, but was unsuccessful.
Another CHP Officer, Shad Davidson, also testified that two men tried to pull Thompson out of her truck, who was repeatedly telling them that she “just wanted to go home.” She was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment of moderate injuries, while Midlam was pronounced dead at the scene by responding paramedics.
At the time of the accident, Thompson’s blood alcohol level was recorded at .21 percent, nearly three times the legal limit. In her initial court defense, she said that she had only had a single drink the night before the accident, but in court Tuesday she admitted to drinking at least three beers and six shots of rum at a bar on the night of the crash.
Thompson also read a letter to the victim’s family accepting responsibility and asking for forgiveness. With no previous criminal record, she will serve half of her six year sentence, said Deputy District Attorney Michael Runyon. The prosecution had been seeking the maximum penalty of ten years in prison.
Kevin Haughton, Thompson’s defense attorney, had argued during the trial that his client should be granted probation, given her traumatic upbringing, and having been taken away from her parents to be put up for adoption. Judge Daniel Goldstein said that her history did explain her substance abuse problems, but that it was no excuse for driving while intoxicated.
“The relationship between her prior abuse and her substance abuse is important in rehabilitation. But it does not have an effect on what she pled to, which is gross vehicular manslaughter. Her intent doesn’t matter. Due to her conduct, not her intent, nor her lifetime of work… at a particular moment in time on a particular evening in San Diego County, she killed someone. And that makes it a prison sentence.”
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