A Bonney Lake man who struck and killed a fifth-grade teacher in front of her Auburn home last summer pleaded guilty Wednesday to vehicular homicide.

A Bonney Lake man who struck and killed a fifth-grade teacher in front of her Auburn home last summer pleaded guilty Wednesday to vehicular homicide.

Samuel J. Cruz, 25, faces more than 10 years behind bars for killing Stacy Ankerfelt, according to the King County Prosecutor’s Office. Prosecutors say they and the defense have agreed to recommend that Cruz serve just over eight years when he is sentenced on Jan. 25.

Ankerfelt, 28-year-old teacher at Kent’s Scenic Hill Elementary, was standing next to her car when she was struck at 5:43 p.m. on July 19. Ankerfelt suffered massive internal injuries and broken bones after being dragged and thrown by Cruz’s SUV.

She died at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center a month later.

Cruz told police that he had taken Suboxone, a prescription drug, before the crash. He said that he was taking the drug for his Oxycodone withdrawal symptoms.

According to Auburn police, Suboxone “is similar to opioids such as morphine, codeine and heroin,” court charges said.

In honor of Ankerfelt, Scenic Hill developed the “Ankerfelt Spirit” program to salute exemplary students.

“Where we identify traits that exemplify Stacy’s approach to life — joy, kindness, courage, and concern for others — and celebrate students with the “A” Award when they demonstrate those same traits,” Principal Dani Pfeiffer wrote to students in a letter last summer.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @SeattleSullivan.