Tearful driver sentenced in fatal Kirkland DUI crash
A Kirkland woman was sentenced to nearly 11 years in prison for causing a collision that took the life of one person and injured three others while driving impaired last year.
Seattle Times staff reporter
A Kirkland woman who killed one person and injured three others while driving under the influence of alcohol and a prescription drug last year was sentenced Friday to nearly 11 years in prison.
Kelly Ann Hudson, 43, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and reckless driving in September. In her plea deal, she admitted she had been drinking and had taken medication before the Aug. 7, 2012, crash that killed Joyce Parsons, 81.
“I don’t even know how to say I’m sorry enough,” a tearful Hudson said in King County Superior Court before she was sentenced to 130 months in prison.
Kirkland police say Hudson was driving south in the 12000 block of Juanita Drive Northeast when she crossed the centerline just before 9 p.m. and collided with a northbound car.
Just before the crash, Kirkland police received a 911 call from a witness who was following Hudson’s van, concerned that the driver was impaired, police said.
The emergency-dispatch center was still on the line with the caller when the collision occurred.
Parsons was killed at the scene and the three other occupants of the car, Arthur Kamm, Jenny Grieshaber and Daniel J. Grieshaber, were critically injured, police and prosecutors said.
During Friday’s sentencing hearing, a video tribute to Parsons was played in the courtroom and Parson’s daughter spoke about her mother’s kindness and love for people, animals and the holidays.
John Kamm, the son of Arthur Kamm, talked about his father’s previously vigorous life and how the accident robbed him of his mobility and independence.
Hudson, who had no previous criminal history, was the second person to be charged in King County since increased sentence ranges for vehicular-homicide DUI went into effect in June 2012.
Under the new law, the standard-range sentence increased from 31-41 months to 78-102 months, making it equal to the range for first-degree manslaughter.
Hudson’s attorneys had asked that the mother of three special-needs children be sentenced at the lower end of the range, saying she was a devoted mother who did charitable work through her church and accepted responsibility for what she did.
“There’s not a day she hasn’t cried, not a day she hasn’t prayed, not a day she doesn’t wish she could trade places with Joyce Parsons,” said Scott Wonder.
In addition to the 130-month sentence, King County Superior Court Judge Tim Bradshaw ordered Hudson to work with Mothers Against Drunk Drivers upon her release.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Bradshaw urged all in the packed courtroom to honor Parsons’ love of the holidays with caution.
“For the love of life, will people please think twice before deciding to drink and drive a deadly weapon, otherwise known as a car or minivan.”
Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.