Crash victim’s parents unhappy with driver’s punishment
The grieving parents of Laura Freeman, a 17-year-old Nevada Union High School student who died in a car crash one year ago, are dissatisfied with the sentencing that vehicle driver Josh Yeager will receive at 3:30 p.m. today in Nevada County Superior Court.
The couple are hosting a candlelight vigil at 6:25 p.m. Sept. 22 on Colfax Highway between the Cedar Ridge post office and the intersection of Brunswick Road ” the time and place where the accident took Freeman’s life in 2007.
Yeager, 23, was driving a Jeep Cherokee that crashed into a large cedar tree on Highway 174, killing Freeman and injuring a 15-year-old boy who was riding in the back seat.
Yeager entered a plea of no contest to felony vehicular manslaughter as well as felony drunken driving with injury, according to Deputy District Attorney Kathryn Francis. He can get a maximum of five years and eight months in prison for his offenses, Francis said in an earlier interview. Judge Thomas Anderson is hearing the case.
“It is not enough,” said Shelley Crawford, Freeman’s mother. “There should be stricter sentences for driving under the influence and fatalities related to drunken driving.
“I want to let people know fatalities don’t just touch the victim’s family. It also touches the whole community.”
Paul Crawford, Freeman’s stepfather, said Yeager “should get 17-and-a-half years” ” the age at which Freeman died.
“She doesn’t get a second chance,” Crawford said. “I wasn’t able to watch her graduate, to finish college and get married.”
Francis could not be reached for comment on the plea agreement.
Yeager originally was charged with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, defense lawyer Stephen Munkelt said.
“The district attorney’s office agreed to modify one of the charges to reflect one of our agreements,” Munkelt said. “So a plea of no contest was entered for vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence.”
To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4229.
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