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Sentencing hearing for Alaska teen in drunk driving accident

A teenage girl is in the spotlight of an Alaska court as she is facing sentencing for a drunk driving accident in which a cyclist was killed. She was 17 years old at the time of the accident. She had been drinking and left the scene after she hit a man riding his bicycle. This phase of sentencing for the drunk driving accident was only the first session. 

As a result of a plea deal made earlier this year, the now 18-year-old was sentenced to three years in prison. She would actually serve only one year and the other two would be suspended. Family and friends of the cyclist are asking the judge for a harsher sentence.

The judge agreed to hear defense testimony from a scene reconstructionist, who testified that his investigation found that the girl had been going in reverse at a speed of 11 miles per hour when she hit the cyclist. He also estimated the cyclist was traveling approximately 30-35 miles an hour when he was hit. Furthermore, the cyclist had evidence of THC in his blood and he was wearing earbuds at the time of the accident, which the defense claims would have slowed his reaction time, leaving him unable to avoid the accident. The professional pointed out this incident was different than most situations he had come across, however, as the cyclist was hit from the side and not from the front or rear.

The judge scheduled a closed, confidential hearing to begin a few days after this initial session. He plans to take into consideration all that was said in the first session as well as feedback generated through social media. For Alaska residents who may have drunk driving accident concerns similar to this, it is beneficial to have the support of a professional who will help navigate the complexities of the legal system.

Source: alaskapublic.org, "Sentencing begins in Anchorage hit-and-run cyclist case", Anne Hillman, Aug. 14, 2015

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