PORT ORCHARD - The families of two women killed in a Navy Yard City crash in November 2009 closely followed the court proceedings against the man prosecuted for driving the car.
On Monday, more than a year after the deaths of Nina Morrison-Martinez and Laresa Davis, their families got closure at the end of that painful journey: a top-of-the-range sentence of two years, three months in prison for Kenneth A. Foell, 25, who had pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide.
"We’re glad we won’t be needing to go to court for this any more, and that the judge gave him as much time as the law allowed," said Lanae George, Davis’ older sister.
Numerous family members of both Morrison-Martinez, 27, and Davis, 28, told Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Russell Hartman Monday morning how their lives have been changed since the two Bremerton women died in a crash in the Navy Yard City area of Bremerton.
Five children, they noted, will grow up without a mother.
"He took two beautiful women off this Earth," said Christina Kohl, Davis’ niece.
Foell told Hartman and the families that he was sorry for what happened.
"I can’t take back what happened that night," he said. "... I’d give my life for both of them. I wish I was the one that was gone." "I’m going to live with this every day for the rest of my life," he said.
Kitsap County deputy prosecutor Giovanna Mosca said Foell had been drinking at a bar in Bremerton on Nov. 8, 2009, and left to drop the women off at their homes. Foell’s Dodge Stratus failed to stop at the intersection of National Avenue and McCall Boulevard at about 1 a.m. and went off the roadway and down a gully. Both women were killed.
Foell had a .06 blood-alcohol level, below the .08 legal limit, and had been driving about 52 mph in a 25 mph zone, according to a Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office investigation.
In early November, Foell failed to show up for a court appearance at which he was slated to plead guilty in exchange for a 20-month sentence. He was in Texas, Mosca said, but chose to turn himself in.
A bail-jumping charge was added to the two counts of vehicular homicide. George said the family was angered by his brief flight from prosecution and the fact he took what’s known as an Alford plea, which means that while he doesn’t admit guilt, he believes a jury would likely convict him.
The standard-range sentence under state law for Foell’s crimes was between 21 and 27 months. Prosecutors, Foell’s attorney Craig Kibbe and Hartman agreed he should be sentenced to the high end of the range.
"No sentence can resolve this loss," Hartman said.