Driver sentenced for fleeing fatal DUI accident in…

Source: Driver sentenced for fleeing fatal DUI accident in…

Found on: 2022-10-05 12:12:16

SAN DIEGO — A woman was sentenced to three years in a California prison for fleeing the scene of a deadly crash involving a pedestrian on a north San Diego County highway last November.

Courtney Dyar, 32, died while walking on the shoulder of westbound State Route 78 on Emerald Drive at 5:45 am on November 7, 2021. Why she was walking on the highway is unknown.

Kanoelani Kirskey, 24, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.15, nearly double the legal limit, an hour after crashing her white Volkswagen sedan, according to prosecutors. They also say that she had been smoking marijuana before the collision.

Dyar’s family was upset that Kirskey was not charged with vehicular manslaughter.

“This is a very heartbreaking situation that we’re here for today,” Judge James Simmons said after handing down the sentence. “I can’t sentence her for causing Courtney’s death. The only felony I can sentence her for is fleeing the scene after she hit Courtney, which is a difference of several years. Legally I can’t sentence Ms. Kirskey for cause Courtney’s death.”

Kirskey left the scene and later returned to her mother, prosecutors said. The couple then left the scene a second time and called 911. She apologized to Dyar’s family in court Tuesday.

“I never wanted to run and hide, I should have made better decisions. I knew there was nothing I could do,” he said.

Several members of Kirskey’s family, including her mother, her aunt and her friends, went to court to support her. Kirskey has been out on bail for the past year and she worked two jobs and was a caregiver, according to her attorney.

The prosecutor painted a different picture, stating that Kirskey had numerous alternatives to drinking and driving under the influence. She could have asked a friend for a ride and instead she risked public safety, the prosecutor argued, adding that Kirskey twice leaving the scene of the accident made the case more egregious.

Dyar also had a large group of supporters in the courtroom. Several people made statements about the impact on the victims, including an aunt and a cousin.

“It’s been almost a year since I lost my cousin, I flew my mom to every court date hoping this would be over. I still wait for her voice at dinner parties. There will never be an end to this. I’ll see Courtney in everything I do,” said Terese Coker.

There was a possibility that Kirskey would be paroled instead of serving time in prison, an idea the victim’s parents could not fathom.

Dyar’s parents, Vicki and Daniel Dyar, also addressed the judge and the courtroom.

“When people say they can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a child, they’re right,” said Vicki Dyar. “We miss Courtney’s laughter, her goofiness. This is the first year she hasn’t baked me a birthday cake in as long as I can remember. It doesn’t get any easier. The facts are clear. This defendant has a history of alcohol abuse.” .

Video testimonies from several of Dyar’s friends and family were played in the courtroom.

After hearing all the victim impact statements, Judge Simmons decided to sentence Kirskey to three years in state prison.

“I was moved by the stories of Courtney’s life. Twenty-seven years is too short a time, but they were so blessed to have Courtney for 27 years,” Simmons told Dyar’s family. “As a parent, I can’t imagine having to bury my own child. That is a parent’s worst nightmare. I can’t imagine the pain and suffering you are going through right now. Courtney was such a loving and giving person.”

Judge Simmons then turned to Kirskey.

“Although you have been sentenced to prison for three years, you will eventually get out of prison. You have an obligation not only to live for yourself, but to live for Courtney. You have a debt to pay, frankly, a debt that you will never be able to pay. My hope for you are that you can share your story with others. You will define your life by the actions you take.”

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