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Sentencing brings closure to accident victim

An Oregon State University gymnast critically injured by a drunk driver said she found a sense of closure Wednesday as the woman who hit her was sentenced to 44 months in prison for the crimes.

Actually, I feel really glad that it's over, said Meghan Jones, 20, of Medford, minutes after a hearing in Benton County Circuit Court.

Myrna D. Taylor, 45, was convicted on charges of assault, driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless endangering, reckless driving and failure to appear in court.

The Albany woman, who was extradited after fleeing to Alabama last summer, apologized indirectly to Jones.

She said she was remorseful, but she never looked at Meghan, said Ed Mayer, Jones' stepfather.

Mayer and other family members, friends and gymnastic associates packed the Corvallis courtroom. Supporters showed video of Jones, once a promising OSU gymnast, as she performed, along with photos of her in the hospital.

— Jones, who was critically injured, underwent two brain surgeries and surgery to repair a broken pelvis after the Sept. 20, 2003, incident.

Taylor was the driver of a minivan that struck Jones and two other students as they walked near the OSU campus. Brian Austad of Jacksonville and Brittany Risser of Medford suffered minor injuries in the incident.

Jones, who returned to OSU last summer, has said she plans to resume gymnastics training soon, although competition may be far off.

For the near future, Jones said she hoped to focus on immediate goals.

I'm not sure what's next, she said. I think we'll go to dinner.