SEATTLE — A day before a Kirkland mother is sentenced for a deadly DUI, the family of the victims say they are still struggling to recover.
“His life is totally different from what it was,”John Kamm said Thursday of his 87-year-old father, Art. “He went from a totally dependent 85-year-old, living independently and a very active person, to being totally dependent on everybody.”
John and his brother Tom Kamm say their father is still learning to walk 15 months after a drunken driver smashed into the car he was driving. Art’s sister, Joyce Parsons, was killed, two of his passengers were badly hurt, and Art suffered 80 broken bones.
“He`s just mad that he`s in this spot,” said Tom Kamm. “And he did nothing wrong, that`s the hard part.”
Kelly Hudson, 43, is the person who did something wrong that night. She was driving drunk and on Valium when she crossed the center line and plowed into the victims’ car.
In her initial court appearance, Hudson’s lawyer used a large board to block her face and when asked how she would plead, she declared she was “absolutely not guilty.”
“I don`t think she`s ever really taken accountability for her actions,” said John Kamm.
But after months of court delays, and just prior to her trial, Hudson did plead guilty to vehicular DUI homicide. Because new, tougher DUI laws went into effect just before the crash, a sentence that would normally have been three years will now likely send her to prison for 11.
“It’s the same as manslaughter in the first degree,” said Amy Freedheim, the DUI prosecutor for King County. “Which is appropriate, because when you’re driving impaired, you are recklessly engaging in conduct that you know or ought to know can result in death.”
Freedheim has prosecuted plenty of deadly DUI cases over the past several years. She began collecting pictures of the victims in her cases, and they now fill the wall of her office.
“They deserve to be remembered, and not forgotten, and they give me strength,” said Freedheim. “This is why I do what I do, so that the wall doesn’t get bigger.”
It will get a little bigger, after Kelly Hudson is sentenced Friday. A photo of Parsons will take a place on the wall.
Parson’s nephews said they are also hoping to find some closure and help their dad finally recover.