A judge sentenced a 23-year-old man to two years and five months in prison Thursday for driving under the influence during a hit and run crash in downtown Olympia last year that severed a young woman's leg.
Two other victims were injured and trapped in their vehicles during the March 28 crash, described by Thurston County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Heather Stone as "a horrific, horrific event."
"This very easily could have been a vehicular homicide," Stone said.
Defendant Ramsey Kira pleaded guilty during Thursday's hearing to two counts of felony vehicular assault while driving under the influence, and two counts of felony hit and run. He was immediately sentenced after his guilty plea.
Kira, who has been an inmate at the Thurston County Jail since last year's crash, will get credit for more than 10 months time served, meaning that his actual prison sentence will be decreased to about 19 months.
Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon took pains to explain that according to the terms of Kira's plea deal, the 29 month sentence was at the top end of the standard sentencing range that he is bound to follow under state law.
Dixon had difficulty coming up with words to describe the "horrific" and bloody crash scene that Kira fled from in the 400 block of Fourth Avenue on March 28. A witness who submitted a victim's impact statement to the court described the scene as traumatizing.
"Ninety-nine percent of the general public will believe that 29 months is a woefully inadequate sentence," Dixon said.
"There was blood seemingly everywhere and people in tears and in shock," the witness wrote in the document submitted to the court. "The scene was surreal; emergency vehicles lit up the night while people milled around uncertain what to do."
Kira fled the scene on foot after his car smashed into Siobhan Flood and several parked cars in the 400 block of Fourth Avenue, including an Olympia police patrol car. The officer exited the car and gave chase, but Kira escaped. Olympia detectives located him later that morning at a Fern Street address.
Dixon ordered Ramsey Kira to pay over $58,000 in restitution to his victims, including Flood, who lost her leg in the crash.
After the crash, several downtown businesses, including Caffe Vita on Fourth Avenue, held a fundraiser to help Flood with her medical expenses. Stone said in court that Flood has said she will never return to Olympia because of the trauma she has suffered.
Dixon noted that long after Kira is released from prison, the victims and their families will still be dealing with the aftermath of their injuries. "The victims are going to struggle and their family members are going to struggle side by side them every step of the way," Dixon told Kira. "Because of your criminal acts, their lives are forever changed."
A woman who is friends with Flood, who goes by the name Nine, said she felt Kira's 29-month sentence "seems a little low." Noah Saffer, a witness who administered aid to Flood after the crash also said the sentence was too low. Saffer added that he suffers from post traumatic stress disorder from the event.
Nine said she wanted to remind others in Olympia to take responsibility for not getting behind the wheel of a car after using alcohol or marijuana. "Call a cab, call your friends, watch out for your friends who are drinking too," she said.
Kira apologized to the victims and their families prior to the sentencing, and said "it was not intentional."
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 firstname.lastname@example.org