A drunk driver who killed her friend and seriously injured another driver has agreed to a plea deal this morning that will give her four years in prison.
Katie Amanda McKewon, 20, pleaded no contest to one count of gross vehicular manslaughter, which can carry a sentence of four, six or eight years in prison. She also pleaded no contest to one count of felony DUI causing great bodily injury. Originally, McKewon was charged with four counts of felony DUI. With the deal, McKewon will serve four years in prison on the manslaughter charge and will serve no additional time for the DUI charge, which could have carried a 12-month sentence. Also as part of the deal, a prior charge of assault related to an incident last June was dropped.
Laurel Alice Williams, 19, was killed Oct. 20 when McKewon crossed over the dividing line on Foothill Road, just north of Highland Oaks Drive, into cross traffic, striking a Mercedes SUV and seriously injuring its driver.
Williams and McKewon, who were friends, had been at a house party the night before and consumed alcohol. McKewon had a blood alcohol read of .23, more than three times the legal limit for drivers who are 21.
During her prison time, she will not be eligible for parole.
"Never say never--that this can't happen to your own children," Alameda County Superior Court Judge Christine Moruza said before she adjourned.
Friends and family of Williams, who wore T-shirts with a picture of the Foothill High School graduate and pink ribbons, were crying and hugging after the plea was made.
"It's a tragedy. Nothing really makes it okay," said Ken Williams, Laurel Williams' father.
Williams, who said the past few months have been "horrible," said he wasn't disappointed that the sentence wasn't longer, saying that it doesn't change what happened.
"The important thing is that she's in a place where she can't hurt anyone else," he said. "Hopefully she learns her lesson."
In speaking about McKewon, Williams added that the message he'd like to send to parents is that they need to be actively involved in their children's lives and be a parent, not a friend.
McKewon will also be ordered to pay restitution to the victims' families, which can be anything from $200-10,000. She will be sentenced at 8:45 a.m. May 23 at the Hayward courthouse.
The case of Paul Stonebarger, 21, who was charged separately with providing alcohol for the party McKewon and Williams attended, was continued Wednesday to June 12 at the Pleasanton courthouse. If convicted, he could face six months to a year in prison and a substantial fine.