Seattle-area residents may remember the story about Kelly Hudson, a 41-year-old woman who allegedly caused a serious and highly-publicized DUI collision in Kirkland back on August 7.
As we noted at the time, one woman was killed in the crash – which took place on Juanita Drive NE in Kirkland – and four others sustained moderate to serious injuries. Hudson had been driving her minivan at about 9 p.m. for some time at this point, and bystanders reportedly witnessed her collide with a large rock before she backed out of her own driveway before the crash occurred.
In fact, one person who had been driving behind Hudson even called 911 just before the collision occurred in an effort to report a potential drunk driver to the police. Police records show that Hudson herself admitted to consuming wine and taking prescription anti-depressant medication before getting behind the wheel, resulting in the impaired-driving collision on Juanita Drive NE.
Hudson is among the first cluster of DUI offenders to face the recently implemented changes to Washington State DUI laws. Under the new legislation, DUI vehicular homicides are recognized as the equivalent to manslaughter. The old law would have carried about a three-and-a-half year prison term, but now drivers like Hudson could face close to ten years.
Though Hudson is reportedly a mother of young children, she did not have any of them with her in the car at the time of the wreck. Had she decided to bring her children with her that night, she would face an additional year of prison time for driving under the influence with children in the vehicle – another aspect of the new laws.
“You’re engaging in behavior that in and of itself is reckless and that’s what manslaughter is,” explains King County prosecutor Amy Friedheim. “It’s killing someone recklessly.”
The car that Hudson crashed into was carrying a carful of elderly people who were returning from a day trip to see the sights of downtown Seattle. In addition to the death of 81-year-old Joyce Parsons, two victims in the vehicle suffered broken bones and had to be cut out of the car.
As a result, Hudson faces one count of vehicular homicide and three counts of vehicular assault. Perhaps most shocking of all, however, is the fact that at her arraignment Hudson contested that she was “absolutely not guilty” of the charges against her. For someone who admitted to consuming impairing substances such as wine and antidepressants, it is perplexing that Hudson would claim to be innocent.