Judge hands down a 3 year sentence to a drunk driver that killed Mill Creek resident Anita Sharma
As an Everett auto accident attorney, I have dealt with devastated families who have lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident. The penalties for vehicular manslaughter in Washington are governed by RCW 46.61.520. The maximum sentence for vehicular homicide is life in prison but in practice, sentences fall between just 3 and 5 years for those with no previous criminal record.
A drunk driver who killed a woman outside a pub in Lynwood last September will face more jail time than the time that prosecutors recommended in his plea deal after a hearing on Thursday. William Reardon accepted a plea deal in which he plead guilty to vehicular homicide and the prosecutors recommended the low end of the sentence range – 31 to 41 months in prison, because he had no previous criminal record. The family of the woman who was killed, Anita Sharma, pleaded with the judge to add time to the sentence. Judge Ronald Castleberry of Snohomish County eventually added four months to the sentence. Reardon will serve three years in prison, however Sharma’s family wanted the death penalty to be imposed. When he hit Sharma outside a Lynnwood pub, Reardon’s blood alcohol content was double the legal limit. Sharma’s family argued that the sentence should be increased because Reardon’s actions ruined the lives of his family. Reardon was taken into custody immediately after his hearing.
While it is good to see a judge increasing a sentence for a drunk driver whose actions resulted in an innocent victim’s death, the punishments for vehicular manslaughter still seem too lenient. Clearly the current punishments for drunk driving aren’t enough of a deterrent for some people, and especially in cases like these, should be raised.
It is always difficult to learn of lives lost in auto accidents. The last thing you want to worry about in these situations is legal issues. In an attempt to provide you with much deserved help and assistance, I have co-authored a book with attorney Patrick J. Kang which is a guide for families of Washington wrongful death victims. The book is called, In Case of Death: Straight Talk on Washington Wrongful Death, and is available at no charge to Washington residents by clicking on the preceding link.