A Central Point woman pleaded guilty today to two charges, including criminally negligent homicide, for running a red light in July and causing a car crash that left a man dead.
Leta Jean Schroeder, 35, was sentenced to 46 months in prison and three years of post-prison supervision. She was also ordered to pay more than $323,000 in restitution.
Schroeder also pleaded guilty to failure to perform the duties of a driver after she fled the scene of the crash.
"I am truly sorry for the accident that happened, the loss of life," Schroeder said in Jackson County Circuit Court today.
Schroeder is eligible for early release and alternative incarceration programs.
Officials from the Jackson County District Attorney's Office say Schroeder's vehicle slammed into the side of a seven-man work crew's van at 3:44 a.m. on July 23, 2012, while she was driving westbound on Crater Lake Highway at speeds between 50 and 60 mph. The crew worked for Pacific Coast Contracting Inc., and was en route to a Glendale job site for a brush clearing job. The van was northbound on North Pacific Highway when it was struck.
"It's an important lesson for everyone," said Judge Benjamin Bloom. "There can be tragic consequences when (rules) aren't followed."
Four men were ejected from the van. Efren Vargas-Urena, 23, died in the crash. Arnulfo Anaya, 23, and Dimas Rodriguez, 21, of Medford, were both seriously injured. Pedro Santana-Arriaga, 37, address not known, was also injured. The rest of the crew walked away uninjured. (Correction: The number of men ejected from the van has been corrected in this story.)
Schroeder fled the scene of the accident but was tracked to a home in White City, where Medford police arrested her 14 hours later.
The original charges of manslaughter and driving under the influence of intoxicants were dropped. Tests showed there were traces of amphetamines, opiates and oxycodone in Schroeder's system after her arrest, but it's not known if they were directly involved in impairing her at the time of the crash, prosecutors said.
"This case was a tragedy for everybody that was involved," said defense attorney Justin Rosas. "I know (Schroeder) will carry this forward with her the rest of her life."
— Ryan Pfeil