A Sammamish woman who killed her husband and son-in-law when she crashed her Jeep through her lakefront home was sentenced Friday to six years in prison.
And on Friday, Carol Fedigan learned, it would cost her more than six years in a state prison.
King County Superior Court Judge John Chun sentenced Fedigan to 73 months in state corrections’ custody and 18 months of community custody for the May 2014 crash that killed Fedigan’s husband, David Walker, and her son-in-law, Sean Berry.
Fedigan’s fate came at the end of an emotionally charged hearing during which the 69-year-old grandmother stood in a red prison smock with her eyes downcast while several members of her late husband’s family blamed her for failing to show remorse and take responsibility for the crash.
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“Never did you reach out to me or my dad’s family to say you’re sorry for what you’ve done,” Troy Walker, told Fedigan while addressing the court. “ … This was not an accident and you are not the victim.”
Long before the deadly crash, Troy Walker and others said, Fedigan knew she had a problem with substance abuse, but she rebuffed the family’s efforts to get her to address it.
A letter of contrition Fedigan wrote that was read aloud in court by one of her attorneys countered the depictions of her as remorseless.
“The hurt that I have caused is far-reaching and beyond comprehension,” the letter stated. She wrote the deadly crash “haunts me daily and it always will.”
While sentencing Fedigan, Chun noted he observed her tears during the hearing and believed them to be sincere.
“I do believe she has remorse, I do believe she understands the nature of her crimes, and it strikes me that she’s going through her own pain,” the judge said.
Fedigan pleaded guilty July 30 to two counts of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, DUI and reckless endangerment. The state and defense agreed to jointly recommend that Fedigan be sentenced to six years and a month in prison, plus a year-and-a-half of supervised parole following her release.
The court also ordered Fedigan to submit to substance-abuse treatment, regular drug testing and other agreed-upon conditions.
Chun noted Fedigan’s sentencing included a maximum prison term for both homicide counts, plus a 12-month enhancement for endangering a child — a toddler grandson who was on Fedigan’s lap at the time of the crash.
“There’s nothing good at all about this situation for anyone in this room,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Amy Freedheim said in the packed courtroom Friday. “It’s horrific, but it didn’t have to happen.”
Fedigan was having dinner with her husband, daughter and son-in-law at her home on Lake Sammamish on May 16, 2014, when she decided to move her new Jeep into the driveway from where it was parked across the lane from the house, charging papers say. The other adults remained seated in the dining room.
Fedigan, who previously had been drinking and had taken the sleeping aid Ambien, took her nearly 3-year-old grandson with her, seating him on her lap behind the steering wheel. Neither was wearing a seat belt.
Fedigan apparently mistook the accelerator for the brake, and “floored” the SUV, prosecutors say. The Jeep plowed through the house, smashed over the dinner table and continued through the house’s rear windows, over a covered patio, down some stairs to a deck and through a railing. Its front end came to rest in Lake Sammamish.
Fedigan’s husband, Walker, 70, died at the scene. Her son-in-law Berry, 41, died at Harborview Medical Center two days later. Her daughter, Megan Berry, 34, suffered facial fractures, a collapsed lung and other injuries.
Fedigan and her grandson were not injured.
Four hours after the crash, Fedigan registered a .09 blood-alcohol level with high levels of the sleeping drug detected in her blood, prosecutors say.
While on bail and awaiting sentencing, Fedigan violated her release conditions by consuming alcohol, leading her to be booked into jail this month.
The anguished statements during Friday’s sentencing illustrated how Fedigan’s actions had shattered what one relative described as the “perfect blended family.”
“I always told everybody we were like the ‘Brady Bunch,’ ” said Betty Haley, David Walker’s elder sister. “And now, it’s completely fractured.”
A crying Megan Berry ended her statement by turning to Fedigan, and saying, “I know what a wonderful woman you are, and I love you, mom.”