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Driver in fatal crash that killed University Place woman sentenced to 6 years, 6 months in prison

Post by Stacia Glenn / The News Tribune on May 14, 2013 at 8:57 am with 1 Comment »
May 14, 2013 8:57 am

From the catch-up file:

A Federal Way woman was sentenced Friday to 6 years, 6 months in prison for a fatal crash that killed a 48-year-old University Place woman last year.

Michelle Leigh Dittamore, 32, drank a tumbler of pink champagne and took a prescription drug known to cause drowsiness before taking the keys to her father’s sports car without permission.

Her 4-year-old son was in the passenger seat when Dittamore slammed head-on into Jana Lynne Berry’s vehicle June 7 after crossing the centerline on Pacific Highway South in Federal Way.

Berry’s car spun around from the force and was broadsided by another vehicle. She died instantly.

When police arrived, they noticed Dittamore appeared under the influence and noted that she repeatedly insisted her son was with his father.

The boy suffered minor injuries.

The fatal crash happened mere hours after then-Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law a bill that increased prison terms for those convicted of vehicular homicide to 6 to 8 ½ years, an increase from the previous 2 ½ to 3 ½ years.

Dittamore’s license was suspended in 2009 and she was not insured to drive at the time of the collision.

Leave a comment Comments → 1
  1. Regarding the accident just a few years ago:
    Are there any follow up articles (or reaction from the victim’s family) regarding Michelle Dittamore’s early release from prison?

    It had been obvious that Dittamore would have been the first person charged under the (then) new sentencing grid in the state (because it had just been implemented). These new guidelines increased vehicular homicide (DUI) sentences:
    The sentences increased from 31-41 months to 78-102 months. That’s the same sentence as first degree manslaughter–“a reckless act that kills”, as defined by state law.

    AND her son was in the car–something she did not recognize at the time police spoke with her at the scene. She was too impaired due to the alcohol and medication she had mixed. (All in a car she was not permitted to drive, and with no license.)
    Due to her son being in that car, she could have also faced the 12-month sentencing enhancement (passed in the 2012 Legislature).

    However, she is out as of 2016. Is this woman considered “rehabilitated”? Was there a legal problem with her case? Many laws were broken, a woman was killed in the crash, a child was with Dittamore, so how is she out early (not even completing the 6 & 1/2 years)? Her victim’s family deserves better. Is this justice?

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