31-year-old Michelle Leigh Dittamore of Federal Way, Washington is being charged under new, stricter vehicular homicide laws after she killed another driver while driving drunk last week. Her 4-year-old was in the passenger seat of the two seat sport car she was driving when the accident occurred at 11pm on June 7th. She was under the influence of a combination of prescription drugs and pink champagne when she crossed the center line and crashed head-on into 48-year-old Janna Lynne Berry, who died instantly. After Dittamore hit Berry, Berry’s car went air-borne and hit a third car. The third driver suffered only minor injuries.
Grayson Dittamore, her son, was bruised by the seatbelt and airbag but was otherwise unhurt. According to The Seattle Times, he fact that a child under age 16 was in the car is considered an “enhancement” that could add a year to Dittamore’s sentence if she is convicted. King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said, ”Vehicular homicide is now on par with first-degree manslaughter, and driving impaired with a child in your car will earn an additional year sentence for the impaired driver who kills.”
Dittamore had ingested a tumbler of pink champagne and the drug Klonopin 2 1/2 hours before the crash. Her license was revoked in 2009, and she took the car from her father without his permission. She was also uninsured. Police said she became argumentative when they told her her son was in the car, insisting that he was with his father.
Dittamore will be subject to a new law (HB 2216) that increases prison terms for those convicted of vehicular homicide to 6 to 8 1/2 years, up from the previous 2 ½ to almost 3 ½ years. The law went into effect the day of the crash.
Dittamore is being held in King County jail in lieu of $250,000 bail. She will be arraigned on June 25th.
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