‘There was no justice for Laura’ | TheUnion.com

‘There was no justice for Laura’

A Las Vegas man was sentenced to one year in the Nevada County jail and four years of probation in the 2007 death of 17-year-old Laura Freeman, the girl’s stepfather said Wednesday.

“Why don’t you just put a big ad in the paper and say it’s OK to drink and drive?” Paul Crawford said. He and the girl’s mother, Shelley Crawford, are angry about the sentence handed down in Nevada County Superior Court by Judge Thomas Anderson, they said.

“There was no justice for Laura today,” Shelley Crawford said. “There needs to be different sentencing for DUI fatalities in this county. (Josh Yeager) will be out in seven months. The judge granted him good time for being in jail already.”

Yeager, 23, had pleaded no contest to a charge of vehicular manslaughter and felony drunken driving with injury. He originally had been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence with bodily injury and driving with 0.08 percent or more of alcohol in his blood. A charge of child abuse was added later.

The lesser charges to which Yeager pleaded carry a maximum penalty of five years and eight months in jail, according to Deputy District Attorney Kathryn Francis.

She declined to comment on the sentence.

Freeman and a 15-year-old boy had asked Yeager for a ride after meeting him at a gasoline station on the evening of Sept. 22, 2007.

Yeager was driving a 1993 Jeep Cherokee when he hit a cedar tree at a high rate of speed on Highway 174 in Cedar Ridge at about 6:25 p.m. Freeman, who was in the front seat, died in the crash.

Freeman’s family and friends are planning a candlelight vigil at the scene of the accident at 6:26 p.m. Monday to commemorate a year’s passing since her death.

To contact City Editor Trina Kleist, e-mail tkleist@theunion.com or call 477-4230.

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