Long Island woman gets 3 to 9 years for deadly crash

July 10, 2012 9:58:50 AM PDT
A Long Island woman who admitted she was high on drugs when the van she was driving jumped a curb and killed a woman mowing her front lawn was sentenced to 3 to 9 years in prison Tuesday.

Kayla Gerdes, then 18, ran down 69-year-old Dr. Rebecca Twine-Wright as she mowed her lawn in Hempstead in April of 2010.

Gerdes pleaded guilty to manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, driving while high on drugs, reckless driving, criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal possesion of a forged instrument, criminal possession of stolen property, unlawful possession of marijuana, conspiracy and operating a motor vehicle without a license.

Prosecutors had been seeking the maximum of up to 15 years, but the judge said the guilty pleas will spare the victim's family the ordeal of a trial.

Gerdes had a stolen prescription pad and over 50 painkillers when she was arrested.

"Kayla Gerdes's actions before, during and after the crash prove that she cared more about her pills than the innocent woman she had just struck and killed," Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. "This was a senseless tragedy that further underscores the perils of prescription drug abuse, and my office will continue to aggressively investigate, arrest, and prosecute doctors and pharmacists who illegally flood our streets with these dangerously addictive drugs."

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