Town Square

Post a New Topic

Plea deal gives drunk driver 4 years in prison

Original post made on Apr 11, 2008

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.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, April 11, 2008, 10:48 AM

Comments (32)

Posted by chris
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 11, 2008 at 4:23 pm

I think that Ken, Laurel's dad showed that perhaps there is room for forgiveness in all of this....when he stated that he wasn't disappointed the sentence was longer. I am sure horrible is an understatement to what this family has been going through and as we make way for spring, and new beginnings let us all try and remember that we are human beings, all tiny children at one time with no malice in our hearts...nor did Katie have that in her heart and for sure Laurel's death, while a tragedy will save lives eventually. My heart truly goes out to the family and friends and please people, lets not use this string to cause any more pain in words, blaming as what happened in October...No my words are not the only that should be spoken, I just hope that people can try and find in their hearts that Katie is just as torn up on the inside, more than anyone will see, and hating heals no one..God Bless all..

Posted by Friend
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 11, 2008 at 5:51 pm

Laurel's dad, Ken, is an amazing man who has suffered a true tragedy. He has dealt with the whole experience in his own, graceful, compassionate way, showing forgiveness while honoring his little girl. He is one to be admired.

Posted by MB
a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Apr 12, 2008 at 8:46 am

I'm not meaning to be critical or supportive of the plea deal, but does anyone know if four years is in-line with other cases involving similar crimes?

Posted by carly
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 12, 2008 at 7:55 pm

Does anyone know where there is a picture of katie? The name sounds SO familiar. Did she go to HPMS?

Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Apr 12, 2008 at 10:16 pm on Web Link above and the pic pops up. Hopefully, this KILLER DRUNK DRIVER WILL LEARN A LESSON!


Posted by carly
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 12, 2008 at 11:02 pm

As sad as it is what happened, it could just have easily been Laurel driving. She chose to get in the car, and she was drunk too.

I don't think 4 years in prison is neccesary. It won't bring Laurel back, and it won't accomplish anything as far as "learning a lesson." Killing your best friend is bad enough.

Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 13, 2008 at 1:33 am

Sadly this young lady's troubles are about to multiply. She's going to a place where life doesn't mean much to some inmates.

Posted by unknown
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 13, 2008 at 9:04 am

To Carly,:
Since when is it legal to drive under the influence of alcohol and also be under age? That's why we have laws because if they are broken we must pay the price. Having Katie out jail and not having her serve time would be a huge mistake. She obviously has an alcohol problem. Your lack of compassion for Laurel and her family is sickening. If Katie was not serving time for her crime, I bet she would be doing the same thing that got her in trouble in the first place. Our streets are a little safer since she has been in jail.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2008 at 11:08 am

I don't want to sound like I justify what Katie did, but what Carly tried to say, I think, is that the girl that died was as much at fault as Katie. They were both drinking and they both chose to get in the car, drunk. It is unfortunate that one died, but the blame is not entirely on Katie (although I disagree with Carly that there should not be jail time).

My thoughts and prayers are with both families. If we are going to learn something from this, is that our kids should not behave like Katie (drink and drive), but also not to behave like Laurel (you don't get drunk and then get in a car that will be driven by someone who is also drunk).

Posted by information
a resident of another community
on Apr 13, 2008 at 1:24 pm

MB: There was a young woman in Livermore who had an accident while driving drunk and three of her friends were killed, she recieved a sentence of 6 years and was paroled after 3 years.

My thoughts and prayers are with both families. I agree with the others above, with no disrespect for Laurel or her family, Laurel was at fault along with Katie, she did get into the car, drunk, with a drunk driver.

Posted by Blood Alcohol
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2008 at 3:16 pm

What was Laurel's blood alcohol content???

Posted by bill
a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 13, 2008 at 8:41 pm

Laurel's alcohol level was .18, Katie's .21. In the Netherlands, a driver over the limit is held blameless for injury or death to a passenger who is also inebriated. Four years is at the upper end of the charges in similar cases. Usually the charges are reduced and the sentence is one to two years. MADD had a huge influence on the sentencing in this case, counseling the vulnerable family to stick to the MADD party line of vengeance and retribution. Almost all of MADD's considerable income goes toward huge salaries for executive staff. Almost none toward efforts to solve the problem. The founder resigned over diagreements with MADD's tactics and huge executive salaries. MADD is basically a prohibitionist organization. You can find out information on MADD on the internet. Very interesting.

Posted by unknown
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 13, 2008 at 9:02 pm

Mr. Williams is not reading these idiotic comments(he is a close friend and would not subject himself to these idiotic rants), so please quit addressing him. A comment to Bill about the vulnerable family listening to MADD. Thank god for madd because they are keeping Katie in jail and not subjecting us to her driving in the streets. I hope a drunk driver doesn't affect or harm your life or loved ones in anyway, because I think you would change your opinion quickly. Her family and guardian had way too many chances to help her, but didn't and now The Williams have to pay the ultimate price. Does it make you feel better that Laurel was under the influence too? How sick if it does. Regarding your out of the blue Netherlands reference,it is a country that handouts drugs to their addicts through a government assistance program.

Posted by bill
a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 13, 2008 at 10:41 pm

Very interesting that unknown refers to idiotic rants in his idiotic (and pathetically ungrammitcal) rant. He obviously has a reading comprehension problem as well, since my comments were not addressed to Mr. Williams. Unknown apparently adhers to the theory of situational ethics (if something affects you, your principles [or opinion in unknown's almost incomprehensible way of expressing himself] fly out the window) and the facist belief that government should not assist its citizens. I have the definite impression that he is one of the MADD people. How sad for all of us.

Posted by Prevention
a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 13, 2008 at 10:42 pm

No one here has said anything about how they are going to help prevent the next teenage drunk driving tragedy. There is still a major problem with drugs and alcohol in our high schools, some of it is well known to the parents of those involved and some parents prefer to put blinders on. It happens every year and nothing changes. These girls were Seniors when Kyle OConnor died. I know that alcohol was not involved in that tragic accident but what lesson did they learn - party all night and drive home drunk? There must be some way to get the message across to our teenagers. Otherwise, it will be the same as it has always been here in Pleasanton, year in and year out- only the names change.

Posted by Jeb Bing
editor of the Pleasanton Weekly
on Apr 13, 2008 at 10:49 pm

Jeb Bing is a registered user.

Several comments have been removed from this thread because they were based on hearsay or entirely inappropriate.

Posted by information
a resident of another community
on Apr 14, 2008 at 9:03 am

unknown: I don't believe it makes anyone "feel better" that Laurel was drunk too, but she was drunk as well and could have been the one driving and was the one who chose to get into the car with someone who had been drinking. Laurel does have some blame in this horrible accident, maybe if she wasn't drinking she would have had better sense and not gotten into the car at all. From all the stories I have heard and the facts of this accident, I'm sure this isn't the first time EITHER of these girls drove drunk or got into the car with someone who was drunk.

Posted by unknown
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 14, 2008 at 4:04 pm

To Bill and info,Most of you are trying to blame Laurel too. Yeah, she could have been driving, but she wasn't. Katie is alive and breathing and Laurel is not. If you take your logic to its illogical conclusion, then we should blame the lady Katie hit for being on the road Saturday morning. Why wasn't she at home? Bill, I am not part of MADD as you were hoping I was, I am just a close friend of Laurel's family and I see the pain and sorrow they go through everyday. By the way I am not a "he" and maybe you should check your dictionary on how to spell adhers (it is adheres in case you need to use it again in the near future.)

Posted by Amber
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2008 at 4:51 pm

Either or-- you know which side which poster comes from. It's a tragic situation. very sad. It happens everyday. Unfortunately, it hit three people's lives and their friends and families' lives. And hopefully-- their friends and families will never drink and drive nor either of any of you posting.

Posted by information
a resident of another community
on Apr 15, 2008 at 6:31 am

unknown: My conclusion is not illogical and I understand that because you are close to the family it is hard to blame the person that died. The lady that was hit in the accident is completely innocent and was doing nothing wrong that morning. Laurel was drunk (illegal) and got into the car with somebody she knew was drunk (not a smart decision), that is not completely innocent.

Katie made a horrible decision that morning as well, but she did not intend to hurt anybody and I am sure, like many of us, wish everyday that she could turn back time and change what happened.

Katie, as much of a monster you want to make her out to be, was Laurel's friend and will suffer, granted not as much as Laurel's family, for the rest of her life too.

If Katie had died in this accident instead of Laurel or if both had died would you have the same opinion?

Posted by unknown
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 15, 2008 at 7:57 am

to info, I wouldn't have the same opinion if Katie died, but guess what she didn't. Quit trying to change it up and stick to the facts. Laurel died, Katie didn't. That's a fact anyway you look at it.

Posted by information
a resident of another community
on Apr 15, 2008 at 8:53 am

unknown: FACT: Laurel was drunk and chose to get into the car with someone else who was drunk.

Posted by ........
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 15, 2008 at 11:15 am

To unknown:

As much as you try and bash on Katie just remember that Laurel considered Katie one of her BEST friends, would she be wanting you to bash on Katie like this? Whether or not you or laurels family would like to believe that they were best friends.. those are the facts. Its not like Katie pushed Laurel into the car. Laurel was at as innocent as you or her family makes her out to be.

Posted by ........
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 15, 2008 at 11:17 am

Correction: ** not as innocent **

Posted by look beyond the hate
a resident of Stoneridge
on Apr 15, 2008 at 11:31 am

It is sad to come on here and just see a bunch of adults bickering at each other. I thought the people of Pleasanton would be able to come together and try and PREVENT this from happening again, instead some of you are wasting your time judging Katie and making her out to be such a horrible person when it could have been anyone driving that car. Both Katie and Laurel were both dropped off at another friend's house (from what I read) and if Laurel didn't want to get in the car with Katie that morning, she didn't have to. But she did, she wanted to be there with her, and there is nothing that anyone can do about it.

To unknown: Sitting here and trying to put Katie down isn't going to bring Laurel back. If your close to the family maybe you should try telling them and your self that this was an ACCIDENT and there was no harm intentially done to Laurel. Maybe you and the family can find it somewhere in your hearts to forgive Katie, instead of filling up your hearts and this thread with a bunch of hate.

Posted by unknown
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 15, 2008 at 4:29 pm

to info,Katie was drunk and chose to drive, does that come into account? She also wasn't wearing a seatbelt, Laurel was, and Katie flew out the passenger window and on the way out broke Laurel's neck and killed her instantly. That's a fact. At least Laurel was coherent enough to put her seatbelt on, Katie wasn't. That's a fact.

Posted by curious
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Apr 15, 2008 at 4:40 pm

I agree with unknown.

Posted by information
a resident of another community
on Apr 15, 2008 at 5:51 pm

Yes it matters that Katie chose to drive drunk. I never said that Katie wasn't to blame, she did wrong and she broke the law and she does deserve to spend some time in jail. It just seems as though a lot of people are making Katie out to be the "bad guy" and Laurel the "innocent one" and in my opinion she was not. I know for a fact that these girls partied together on multiple occasions. If Laurel wasn't drinking she might of had better sense and either not gotten into the car with someone who was driving or she would have drove. Neither of these girls were very coherent, both of their blood alchol levels were very high.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2008 at 6:36 pm

Both girls are at fault for what happened. They were both drinking and got in a car. It is sad that one of them died, but it is highly unfair for "unknown" to put all the blame on Katie. Yes, Katie broke the law, and she will spend some time in jail for that. But Laurel should have known better (she broke the law too by drinking given that she was underage), and she should have known better than to ride with someone who was also drunk. May Laurel RIP, but please do not put all the blame on Katie, both girls were at fault, and both sets of parents failed these girls by not talking to them about the consequences of drinking and driving and/or drinking and getting into a car with a drunk driver.

Posted by unknown
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 15, 2008 at 7:03 pm

quit blaming someone that is dead. She can't defend herself, Katie can try when she gets out of jail.

Posted by Johnny
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 15, 2008 at 9:50 pm

Obviously "unknown" as a lot of hatred in her heart. Stop trying to tell her differently because apparently she is way to single minded to look at it any other way.

Posted by Jeb Bing
editor of the Pleasanton Weekly
on Apr 16, 2008 at 6:48 am

Jeb Bing is a registered user.

These comments have run their course. Thanks for posting.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Premiere! “I Do I Don’t: How to build a better marriage” – Here, a page/weekday
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,623 views

Community foundations want to help local journalism survive
By Tim Hunt | 20 comments | 1,301 views

Pop open the beer at the holiday table
By Deborah Grossman | 0 comments | 258 views


Support local families in need

Your contribution to the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund will go directly to nonprofits supporting local families and children in need. Last year, Pleasanton Weekly readers contributed over $83,000 to support eight safety-net nonprofits right here in the Tri-Valley.