A Monterey woman was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison after being convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter while under the influence, the Monterey County District Attorney announced Friday. Deborah King, 54, fatally struck 35-year-old Joel Woods as he was picking up his son from Pacific Grove Middle School on Sep. 2, 2008, Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo said in a statement. Another motorist said that King had been driving recklessly along state Highway 68 from state Highway 1 in Pacific Grove before drifting into Woods and trapping him between her sport utility vehicle and his truck, Flippo said.
The impact of the crash threw Woods 30 feet and he died of head injuries later that day, according to Flippo. A blood test confirmed that King had taken morphine, Vicodin, Xanax, Ambien, trazodone and Wellbutrin prior to killing Woods, Flippo added. Flippo said that all of the drugs were capable of impairing her ability to drive. The sentence for King’s manslaughter offense is typically no more than 10 years in state prison, Flippo said. However, because King had five prior DUI arrests before she hit Woods, her sentence was increased to 15 years to life, he said. King will not be eligible for parole until 2023 and may spend the rest of her life in prison, Flippo said.
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