A drunk driver in Minnesota was sentenced to nearly three years behind bars for striking and killing a high school student and badly injuring his sister as the pair were heading to a store, according to authorities.
In January, Don Gayton, Junior, 17, and his sister, Tamya, were walking along the shoulder of a freeway frontage road on their way to grab some candy at a Walmart in Bloomington when they were both struck by 28-year-old Mikala Ness, KMSP-TV reported.
According to witnesses, Ness, who was under the influence of alcohol after she had several drinks that evening, was seen speeding through the area. She failed to stop at the scene and later crashed her vehicle near the Mall of America, officials said.
Prosecutors claimed in court that her blood-alcohol level was .201, which is more than twice the legal limit to drive in Minnesota.
Ness pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular homicide and her lawyers argued for mercy and probation, authorities said.
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Tamya and the victim's family were present at Ness' sentencing hearing. Marsha Fugett, the mother of the two victims, told KMSP-TV, "My son went to that Walmart and he walked every single day to or from work. I never thought in my wildest dreams my son would not come home.”
During the hearing, Ness, a mom to a 2-year-old child, apologized to the victim’s loved ones. She insisted she blacked out and had no recollection of the crash, KMSP-TV reported.
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"I didn't care for the apology," Tamya told KMSP-TV. "Her apology was fake as it could be. I can hear it in her voice."
Hennepin County District Court Judge Julie Allyn sentenced Ness to 32 months in prison. She will have to serve nearly two years behind bars, with the rest on supervised release, officials said.
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