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She's finally in Prison

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Forum: Loss of a Child
Thread Starter: randysmom
Started: 01-10-2008 12:16 PM
Replies: 7

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  10 Jan 2008, 12:16 PM
She's finally in Prison
Hi everyone,
I thought I would let you know, the girl that killed my son is in prison. It is more then I thought she would get. here's the newspaper articles. No matter what it will never bring my son back to me, but she isn't on the road anymore.

Turtle Lake woman gets 5 years in prison for vehicular homicide
A 24-year-old Turtle Lake woman, convicted of killing two people last year in a head-on collision when driving while intoxicated, was sentenced Monday to serve at least 5 years in prison and up to another 10 years on extended supervision.

As conditions of the extended supervision, Amy M. Parduhn must maintain absolute sobriety, must not enter any bars and can only drive with permission from her probation officer. She must also find and maintain full-time employment and comply with any recommended treatment.

Parduhn's sentencing hearing began with three individuals testifying for the State, two of whom where the parents of Randy L. Leslie, one of the crash's fatalities.

Sylvia Carter, Leslie's mother, testified that her son was named after her late brother, who had died along with her father because of a drunken driver years ago.

"How much does a family have to endure because of intoxicated drivers?" she asked the court.
Sylvia said she felt sorry for the defendant to a degree because she has "messed up" her life now at such a young age. But that compassion melts away into contempt when she thinks of all the emotional turmoil Amy's actions have put her family through.

Leslie's mother asked Judge James Babler to hand down the strongest penalty possible for the homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle charge against Parduhn-the charge related to Leslie's death in the crash.

An identical charge relating to the second fatality in the 2006 head-on collision, that of Brittany K. Behne, was dismissed but read-in at sentencing.
District Attorney Angela Holmstrom said that the State would argue for the maximum penalty allowed for the felony charge, which would be 15 years of initial confinement in prison with another 10 years of extended supervision-totaling a 25-year sentence.

"This was an aggravated drunk driving crash," Holmstrom said. "Amy Parduhn was traveling completely in the wrong lane of travel. It was about as much of a head-on collision as it possibly could have been. She drove head-on into Brittany (Behne) and Randy Leslie's vehicle.

"Her blood-alcohol concentration was point-two-zero-six-more than two-and-a-half times the legal limit."
Defense attorney Owen Williams argued that his client's actions were out of character for her, and fatal accident was not a conscious choice on Parduhn's part, except that she chose to drink alcohol.

Williams also said that a "ray of hope" might be gleaned from the tragic crash. After Parduhn told a friend of what had happened, this friend revised plans for an upcoming party, specifically to protect against a similar disaster reoccurring.

The defense attorney argued that his client should be given a stayed prison sentence of 10 years behind bars so she has that consequence awaiting her if she were to fail probation. As terms of probation, he suggested she serve a year in jail with work release privileges and be required to submit written apologies to the victims' families.

It was then Parduhn's turn to address the court directly. In her statement, the defendant apologized for her actions.
"I really wish there was more I could do, as words are not enough, but right now all I can really do is let you all know that I'm very, very sorry," she said. "And I know what I did was wrong. I know it was. I'm not trying to make any excuses.

"I have never been more sorry for anything in my entire life-and I'm sure I never will be-than for causing the deaths of two young people who barely began to live.

"I feel horrible knowing that I caused deaths and caused so many people so much heartache and left two little girls fatherless."
Judge Babler said that Parduhn took a calculated risk when she drove after drinking. He also noted that the defendant had a previous OWI conviction from when she was 19.
"And as you (Parduhn) said, you didn't learn from that lesson," Babler said. "But when you chose to drink and chose to drive, you also chose to endanger other people.

"There's a carnage on the highways because of drunk drivers."
The judge said he could not put the defendant on outright probation because of her prior OWI conviction and instead sentenced her to 5 years in prison with another 10 years of extended supervision.

Parduhn had asked the court for time to get her affairs in order before beginning her term of incarceration, but the judge ordered that she be taken into custody immediately.

Father, brother, now son, killed by drunk drivers
When she was 11 years old, Sylvia Carter was in a devastating car crash caused by a drunk driver. Her father and brother were killed. The driver spent 10 days in jail.

Last year, Carter lost her 26-year old son, named after her brother, at the hands of another drunk driver.

On Monday, Dec. 17 Carter asked Barron County Circuit Court Judge James Babler how much a family had to endure because of drunk drivers. She asked Babler to sentence 24-year old Amy M. Parduhn of Turtle Lake to the maximum.

Babler sentenced Parduhn to 5 years in prison and 10 years on extended supervision for a conviction of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle in the death of Randy L. Leslie of Clear Lake.

A second charge in the death of 17-year old Brittany K. Behne, also of Clear Lake, was dismissed in a plea agreement between District Attorney Angela Holmstrom and defense attorney Owen Williams. That charge was read in at sentencing.

Before sentencing, Parduhn asked Judge James Babler to postpone her incarceration until after Christmas so she could spend it with her grandmother because it may be her last. Babler did not fulfill her wish and sent Parduhn to prison immediately.

Shortly after 1 a.m. on Nov. 25, 2006, Parduhn was driving in the oncoming lane of travel of Hwy. 8 in the Village of Turtle Lake when she hit head-on a car driven by Behne with Leslie as her passenger. Parduhn's blood alcohol level tested at more than 2 1/2 times the legal limit.

Leslie was pronounced dead at the scene. Behne died 2 weeks later from injuries she suffered in the crash.

Parduhn had a prior conviction of operating while intoxicated. Babler said he was sending Parduhn to prison instead of placing her on probation because of her prior conviction and because she killed two people.

He said Parduhn told a presentence investigator that she did not have a problem with alcohol.

"You have two OWIs," Babler said. "You have a problem with alcohol."

The maximum penalty for Parduhn's conviction was 15 years in prison and 10 years on extended supervision. Holmstrom recommended the maximum. Williams recommended that 2 years in prison and 8 years on extended supervision be imposed and stayed and that Parduhn be placed on 10 years of probation with 1 year in jail.

'Let this be a message'

Carter told the court that words could not describe the anger, pain, and physical and emotional anguish she and her family had suffered from Parduhn's decision to drink and drive.

But Carter's eloquent portrayal likely didn't leave the many who sat in the courtroom wondering.

Unable to hold back her tears, Carter told Babler that her father and brother were killed by a drunk driver in a head-on collision when she was 11. "I have lived for years knowing that the driver received only 10 days in jail," she said.

Carter said she named her son after her brother, and that they shared the same birthday, which was Tuesday, Dec. 18.

"Because of a choice that Amy Parduhn made to get behind the wheel of a vehicle and drive after drinking, my son's life was taken away from us by another intoxicated driver," said Carter.

"How much does a family have to endure because of intoxicated drivers?" she asked.

Carter said she couldn't bring herself to wash the clothes her son left behind because they still had his smell on them. "I call his cell phone just to hear his voice," she said.

On one hand, Carter said, she feels sorry for Parduhn because she's only 24 and has ruined her life. "But that goes away when I think of what she has taken away from me, and I despise her for that," said Carter. "She has caused so much pain in my life, and there is no way I could ever forgive her for that."

Leslie left two daughters, ages 4 and 6. "They will have to grow up without sharing all the special times of their lives with their dad," Carter said.

She told Babler she wanted the maximum penalty for Parduhn. "Let this be a message for others who drink and drive of the cost," she said.

Leslie's stepfather, Tom Carter, said he'd "pretty much become a widower for the second time," because of the choice Parduhn had made to drink and drive. He lost his first wife to cancer.

Tom said Sylvia's pain and sadness over losing her child was like no other. He said Sylvia was a shell of who she used to be.

He said Parduhn made the choice not to give her car keys to a friend and get a ride home, not to sleep it off in the car or to call a cab. "Instead the choice was made to get in the car extremely impaired and drive into the night eventually driving into Randy and Brittany like a huge, speeding bullet."

Janel Belle Isle, Behne's mother, said her daughter, who was a nursing assistant and wanted to be a registered nurse, was "so much more than a read-in."

With a charge that is dismissed and read in, the defendant agrees to be held responsible for and have the judge consider it when sentencing for another crime. The defendant cannot be prosecuted for the charge in the future.

Belle Isle said she taught her children that there are consequences for every wrong choice in life. Because of this, she said it was hard for her to understand that two serious crimes had been committed but that Parduhn only faced the maximum on one of them because of a plea bargain.

"Please consider the children left behind, let them know through your decision today that the court supports what we as parents have tried so hard to teach them," said Belle Isle. "Amy's consequence should fit her crimes. Please make sure it does."

No excuses

Jean Roetger said she's known Parduhn for 15 years and that Parduhn was always kind, generous, smart and compassionate. She said Parduhn was raised by a stepmother who made a "Cinderella," out of her.

She said Parduhn's stepmother did not accept her as a true daughter.

Roetger said Parduhn had to work and couldn't participate in functions that the other kids could. She said Parduhn did not have the guidance and nurturing that most teenagers need. "A lot of good young people make bad decisions," said Roetger.

She said she hoped Parduhn could take the "cross she had built and will have to bear the rest of her life," and use it to warn others of the consequences of drinking and driving.

Heidi Paulson, Parduhn's former supervisor at the St. Croix Casino, struggled to hold back the tears as she vouched for Parduhn's character.

Parduhn said she was "truly sorry" that she had caused so much pain. She said she knew she did wrong and that there were no excuses. Parduhn said she has never intentionally tried to hurt anyone.

"I wish someone had tried to stop me," said Parduhn. She said although she had a prior OWI, she'd learned from it.

Babler told Parduhn that she hadn't learned because Parduhn told the investigator who wrote her presentence investigation that she didn't have an alcohol problem.

"Most people live their lives without a single OWI," Babler said.

He said that other drivers needed to know that they were safe on the highway. He said he seriously considered placing Parduhn on probation but that he couldn't do that.

"You took two lives, and you have a prior OWI," said Babler. "There is no doubt that your treatment needs to be done in a correctional setting."

Parduhn is not eligible for the Challenge Incarceration or Earned Release programs, which could have shortened her prison stay.

Restitution is to be determined.-12/19/07

"Put your arms around him Lord, kiss his precious face. Tell him how much he's loved and can never be replaced!!!."
The link is a website I have made for my son. http://randy-leslie-1979-2006.memory-of.com

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  10 Jan 2008, 12:48 PM
Re: She's finally in Prison
Oh my gosh, I just read your story and I'm at a loss for words but let me see if I can say this.... the loss you've had to endure over your life from people who have no respect for others is incredible! I work in law enforcement and this is what I do and I can tell you that she got everything she deserved!! Especially if she had a prior! In the courts eyes she had driving under the influence classes and she knew better! She was trained to know that if you drink and drive and kill someone you go to prison. It's different I'm sure in the state that you live in but here we go for life in prison with priors. My heart goes out for you and here where I work and with these sort of cases the victims. I get some closure knowing they will sit and think about what they did for a long time. Again so sorry for your loss and I'm glad you have some sort of ending in all of your tragedy!

Tina W.
Mother to Angel Carl Littlefield

Carl Albert Littlefield "SQUINTS" FOREVER 17
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  10 Jan 2008, 2:36 PM
Re: She's finally in Prison

I miss chris
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  10 Jan 2008, 11:57 PM
Re: She's finally in Prison
Your story left me in tears.  I am so sorry for your loss.  Lifting you in prayers.  God Bless.  HUGS

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  11 Jan 2008, 1:51 AM
Re: She's finally in Prison
I read this today and I couldn't answer at first cause it really makes me so upset. I can't understand if this young woman had gotten in trouble for drinking and driving before why she got only 5 years for killing your son and his friend. I know that no amount of time will bring these young people back but if she didn't learn the first time what's to make the system think 5 years is going to teach her anything especially when she says she doesn't have a problem with drinking. Well...maybe she thinks she doesn't have a problem but she sure caused a life time of problems for the families who lost their children.
I know the Lord can forgive her for what she's done but I still don't think it was a fair sentence. I'm just so sorry for the pain and heartache that your family and the other family has to suffer.
Hugs, Cindy

B.J. you will always be my Best Buddy in the Whole World. B.J. 5-17-84~12-1-03 Wayne and Buck 1-26-86 Always loving and forever missing my three boys.
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  11 Jan 2008, 12:43 PM
Re: She's finally in Prison
If only people would think of the consequences of driving while intoxicated.  The prison sentence and probation is nothing compared to the loss of life.  More people that drink and drive should be sent to jail for years.  Maybe it would make more people think about what they're doing before they do it.  (I doubt it but I wish.)  I'm glad that the judge sent her straight to jail instead of letting her spend Christmas with her grandmother.  This woman sentenced 2 families to Christmas without their children for the rest of their lives. 
No, it will not bring your son back, but she is off the road.  Thank you for letting us know. 

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 John's Mom
  11 Jan 2008, 11:47 PM
Re: She's finally in Prison
I am so sorry you lost your son, brother and father in the hands of a drunk.  Finally justice was served.  I'm so proud of you for being so strong and I'm sure your son is very proud.  He is looking down on you with a loving smile.....saying that's my mom.....He know how loved he is by you.....

Hopefully justice will be served for my son in March......It's just know right that people can kill and get away with it.....

God Bless
Laureen (John's mom)

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  13 Jan 2008, 4:38 AM
Re: She's finally in Prison

My continued thoughts and prayers are with you.  There is one thing to deal with the grief but you have had to endure additional ongoing pain.  Just going through the court system and hearing people testify of the character of the one who took your son's life.  What incredible strength you have demonstrated. There are so many healing areas that you heart can only take.  I pray that somehow or another that your healing begins again.  And I agree your son is truly saying "that's my mom", and saying it so proudly. 

Also when I read the story, I got a little upset, just to think that the judge would have even considered probation only...and the only reason why was because of previous OWI..please (hand on hip).  I really have yet to understand why drunk drivers seem to get away with so much...5 years still seems inadequate compared to what you have to endure.

Sending love to your heart, and strength to your spirit.

Michelle (Mom of my punkin pie Dionne)

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