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Driver sentenced to 16 years in death of pedestrian

| Nov 21, 2013 | Firm News

Woman was killed while going to work

Courtesy of Union Tribue:

A woman with a history of drunken driving was sentenced Monday to 16 years in prison for driving under the influence of a depressant and killing a pedestrian in Poway last year.

Becky Marie Anderson, 45, pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated stemming from the Nov. 23 crash that killed Kristen Ann Bedard, 36.

Anderson also pleaded guilty to a felony charge of driving under the influence causing injury and a misdemeanor charge of unlawfully being under the influence of a controlled substance.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Kathleen Lewis sentenced Anderson in accordance with a plea bargain reached in the case.

Bedard, who worked as a cashier at Target, was walking to work around 7 a.m. when she was struck and killed on Community Road south of Aubrey Street, prosecutors said.

“Today my soul is empty and sadness overwhelms me…,” said Anderson’s lawyer, Zaki Zahawi, reading from a letter his client had written for the sentencing. “I will painfully regret this for the rest of my life.”

But her words and her tears did little to assuage the anger of Bedard’s family, including her 15-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter, who attended the hearing.

The victim’s brother, Rick Bedard, told the judge he was on his way to a doctor’s appointment with his wife and child the morning of Nov. 23 when he learned there had been a traffic incident and noticed a body on the roadside covered by a yellow tarp.

Later, he learned the victim was his older sister.

“Ms. Anderson, you have no idea what you have taken from our family,” he said. “Kristie was our light, our cheerleader and everyone’s biggest fan.”

The victim’s father, also named Rick Bedard, called Anderson’s behavior selfish and irresponsible. “You cannot imagine the amount of hate and disgust we have for you…,” the father said in court. “You deserve a much stronger sentence.”

According to previous testimony, Anderson drove a 2001 Toyota Solara over a curb and onto a sidewalk, hitting Bedard. Anderson told police she had received a dose of methadone at an Escondido clinic that morning and took pills, which she identified as Valium, the night before.

Tests revealed depressants in her blood. She said the crash occurred after she reached for a piece of paper that was rattling in the car and briefly took her eyes off the road.

Prosecutor Ted Minahan has said that Anderson has two previous convictions in Minnesota for driving under the influence of alcohol in 1998 and 1999. The victim’s father called for uniformity in DUI laws across all states.

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