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Woman to be sentenced in Virginia accident case

A Virginia woman could spend as long as 12 years in prison after admitting to a drug-related offense in an accident that left a man and his son with serious injuries.

The accident occurred Jan. 19, when the woman admittedly drove around a stopped school bus, ignoring the safety arm on the bus intended to caution drivers to stop. The woman, 44, then ran into the man, his 5-year-old son, and his niece and daughter, both 7.

The woman admitted to being high on cocaine when she got behind the wheel that morning. She entered her guilty plea to driving under the influence, DUI for the second time in a five- to 10-year span, and not stopping for a school bus.

The man had a metal rod placed in his leg and is now considered permanently impaired, as is his son. He sustained brain injuries that kept him in the hospital for an extended time, as well as a broken jaw.

On the day of the accident, the woman was supposed to report to a residential drug-treatment program. At first, she told police she had taken only prescription medication the day of the accident, but a blood analysis detected cocaine, according to court records.

The woman would be best served by a sentence that includes drug rehabilitation. While she acknowledged causing the accident that injured the family members, her known use of drugs requires treatment, not only incarceration. The woman can pay her debt to society by effectively beating her addiction.

Source: The Virginian-Pilot, "Va. Beach woman pleads guilty in DUI bus-stop crash," Kathy Adams, Sept. 5, 2012

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