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2 killed, woman given harshest sentence in DUI case

When you lose a loved one in a car accident due to the actions of a drunk driver, you want that person to pay for what they've done. The law varies in how those responsible for fatal crashes are treated. However, for many, Iowa courts are harsh and swift in prosecution.

In a recent case, a woman was sentenced to 35 years in prison for driving drunk and killing two people. The woman said she hopes that others can learn from her mistakes.

The accident took place when the woman was driving at approximately 73 miles per hour in a 35 mph zone in November 2015. She struck a vehicle carrying two men who were returning from a church service. She was found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .123 -- over 1.5 times higher than the legal limit. Police found two empty bottles of tequila in her vehicle, and there were reports that she'd had a tequila shot just minutes before the crash.

The sentence she received is the harshest she could get for her guilty plea on two counts of vehicular homicide. The 54-year-old woman is eligible for parole as soon as she enters prison, though at least one of the victim's daughters will be attending each parole session to weigh in on the case. The two men killed, one 63 and the other 59, have family members who said they are struggling to forgive, but they hope that the woman get substance abuse help while imprisoned.

On top of criminal penalties, drunk drivers may be held liable in civil court by surviving families who have the option to pursue a wrongful death claim.

Source: The Des Moines Register, "Woman hopes 35-year sentence 'will stop somebody else' from driving drunk," Grant Rodgers, Sep. 09, 2016

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