|By Sara Jean Green, The Seattle Times|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Durden -- who at the time of the multivehicle crash was on community supervision after serving a six-month sentence on electronic home detention for beating his wife -- was convicted of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault by a
Though he was originally charged with being under the influence of marijuana,
On Friday, she sentenced Durden to 4½ years in prison, a top-range sentence for vehicular homicide caused by reckless driving.
Noting Durden's previous reckless-driving convictions that were pleaded down from DUIs, as well as his other criminal history, Benton said Durden, 50, has made many courtroom appearances over the past 17 years.
"In many ways, this was foreseeable," she said of the crash that killed
Benton, the judge who oversaw Durden while he was on community supervision, the state's version of parole, said she has had two years to observe him.
"He's expressed remorse, remorse, remorse, yet the behavior keeps bringing him back to court," she said.
Even though Benton gave Durden the stiffest punishment she could, Tempel's brother,
Durden was on his way to work and using the turn lane to pass other vehicles when he swerved into oncoming traffic to avoid a head-on collision with a southbound car whose driver was waiting to make a left turn.
Police determined that Durden had plenty of time and space to merge with cars in the northbound lanes, but instead swerved to his left, his SUV ramping up and over Tempel's Subaru Impreza.
Tempel died soon after she was taken to
Other drivers involved in the collision suffered minor injuries.
Durden was also injured and was taken to Harborview. Marijuana was found just outside Durden's SUV, and while he claimed to be a medical-marijuana patient, police were unable to confirm he had a prescription card.
Durden could have faced up to 16 years in prison had he been found guilty of causing the crash while impaired, said Drum, an oncology pharmacist. Though Durden admitted to ingesting marijuana before the crash and signed a form voluntarily allowing his blood to be drawn and tested, Benton ruled that a
Tempel's friends and family remembered her as a dedicated trauma and emergency-room nurse who was also a leader in patient safety and quality control at
Kaykas' partner of 30 years,
(c)2013 The Seattle Times
Visit The Seattle Times at www.seattletimes.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services