Jared Dishon, a Shelton teenager who struck and killed Maria Hoaglund in a downtown Olympia crosswalk last year, was sentenced Wednesday to nearly eight years in prison.
Dishon, 19, pleaded guilty last month to vehicular assault and vehicular homicide charges. Both charges included DUI enhancements. In addition to killing Hoaglund, Dishon severely injured a man who was walking with her.
Hoaglund’s sisters said they believe the sentence is just. They also believe that if Dishon uses his time in prison to turn around his life, Maria Hoaglund will be looking out for him.
Still, to them, her death seems senseless.
“The heartbreaking truth is that none of this had to happen,” said Linda Hoaglund, Maria Hoaglund’s younger sister.
She said Dishon didn’t have to drive while under the influence of drugs, and she hopes others will learn from his mistake.
Dishon was sentenced in Thurston County Superior Court by Judge Erik Price. The 95-month sentence — seven years and 11 months — was a joint recommendation from Deputy Prosecutor Olivia Zhou and attorney Thomas Keehan, who represents Dishon.
The judge said Wednesday that Linda Hoaglund’s comments resonated with him.
“I have no doubt that Mr. Dishon did not intend to kill anybody that day,” Price said.
“But this was a crime, to get behind the wheel was a crime.”
Olympia police officers responded to the scene at the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Columbia Street about 6:30 p.m. April 21. A man who identified himself as “Jared” told 911 dispatchers, “It’s not good, it’s not good,” according to court documents.
Officers at the scene saw a blue Ford F250 parked mid-turn in the northernmost lane of Fourth Avenue. A man and a woman were lying unresponsive in the street.
Four people said they were in the truck, and Dishon identified himself as the driver. The passengers reported that they didn’t see the couple crossing the street and that the music in the vehicle was loud, according to court documents.
Dishon reportedly told officers that he didn’t see the couple crossing the street because he was “looking back” while turning left onto Columbia Street. He said that when he hit them, he put on his brakes and then backed over them.
Zhou said Wednesday that Dishon had been driving under the influence of marijuana and Suboxone — a medication frequently used to treat opoid addiction. Keehan said the medication had been prescribed, and Dishon had a medical marijuana recommendation.
“Jared thought he was doing what he was supposed to do, and lacked the insight to know how the substances were affecting him,” Keehan said.
Dishon addressed the judge Wednesday and apologized.
“Nothing I can say will bring back the life that was taken or undo the serious injuries I have caused,” Dishon said. “I am here to take full accountability for my actions, to offer my sincere apologies.”
Maria Hoaglund, 61, the daughter of missionaries, grew up in rural Japan. Her sisters, Linda and Janet Hoaglund, said the experience helped form Maria Hoaglund into a kind and compassionate person. Maria Hoaglund earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a master’s in divinity from Chicago Theological Seminary. She served as a minister at churches in Hawaii and Washington. She spent much of her career providing spiritual guidance as a hospice counselor, and wrote a book titled “The Last Adventure of Life.” She is survived by friends and family, including an adult daughter.
Linda Hoaglund said her sister was never given a chance to face death on her own terms.
“Jared Dishon’s reckless behaviour on that day robbed my sister of her opportunity to bravely face her own death as she had counseled so many to do,” Linda Hoaglund said. “This was a cruel fate for someone who had committed her life to helping others face their deaths.”