A woman involved in a fatal alcohol-related crash in Federal Way on the day the new alcohol-related vehicular homicide laws took effect has been officially charged with DUI Vehicular Homicide, King County prosecutors said.
According to charging documents, 31-year-old Michelle Dittamore of Federal Way was driving her Honda S2000 on Pacific Highway South without her headlights just before midnight on June 7 when she crossed the centerline and collided head-on with Jana Lynne Berry’s Honda Civic. The Civic went on to hit another car, instantly killing Berry and injuring the driver of that car.
Upon arriving at the scene, police found Dittamore to be apparently under the influence of drugs because of her slow, slurred speech and inattentiveness. She reportedly told police that she had consumed one glass of champagne and the anti-anxiety drug Klonopin.
The day of this fatal crash was also the same day that two new laws, HB 2216 and HB 2302, took effect in Washington state. Under HB 2216, the sentencing range for DUI Vehicular Homicide increased from 31-41 months to 6 ½ - 8 ½ years.
To Make Matters Worse
Unfortunately for Dittamore, she had her four-year-old son in the car with her at the time of the crash. HB 2302 enhances the sentence for DUI Vehicular Homicide, DUI Vehicular Assault and Felony DUI if a child under the age of 16 is present in the vehicle at the time of the offense. It should be noted that Dittamore’s son was not seriously injured in the crash.
“Vehicular homicide is now on par with first degree manslaughter,” says King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. “And driving impaired with a child in your car will earn an additional year sentence for the impaired driver who kills.”
Prosecutors are reportedly requesting that Dittamore’s sentence be between 7 ½ and 9 ½ years.
DUI Accident Attorneys near Federal Way, WA
Davis Law Group helps drunk driving collision victims get financial compensation for their injuries and lost wages. We work closely with the criminal prosecutor to make sure that all avenues, both criminal and civil, are being pursued. If you have been the victim of a drunk driver, contact Davis Law Group at 206-727-4000.