A jury found a Monterey woman guilty Thursday of gross vehicular manslaughter while under the influence, and the woman is facing a sentence of 15 years to life in prison, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office said.Deborah King, 54, had five prior DUI arrests before she fatally struck Joel Woods on Sep. 2, 2008, deputy district attorney Steve Somers said.
King had been driving recklessly along state Highway 68 from state Highway 1 into Pacific Grove, according to a witness, before her car drifted and she hit Woods.Woods, 35, was picking up his 12-year-old son from Pacific Grove Middle School when King’s BMW SUV threw him 30 feet. Woods was pinned between the BMW and his own truck and died of head injuries later that day, Somers said. Woods’ son was in the truck at the time and witnessed the incident.
Pacific Grove police arrived at the scene and determined that King was under the influence of prescription drugs. A blood test showed that King had taken Morphine, Vicodin, Xanax, Ambian, Trazadone and Wellbutrin, Somers said.The jury acquitted King of second-degree murder. The charge of gross vehicular manslaughter would normally carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, but King’s prior DUI offenses prompted a special sentencing enhancement, Somers said.King is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Russell Scott on March 23.
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