Madeline Rackley, the Austin, Texas woman who drove her car into a lake while intoxicated, killing Jarrett Ryan Whittington, will serve 10 days in prison followed by 10 years of probation.
Rackley, 27, was driving Whittington, 25, and another woman back from a local bar after a night of drinking in July 2012 when she drove into Lady Bird Lake. She and the other woman escaped when officers arrived at the scene, reported Kxan news; Whittington did not.
Rackley was charged with intoxicated manslaughter at the time. She pleaded guilty Wednesday to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony. Thus jury selection, slated for later that day, did not go forward due to the plea agreement.
The American-Statesman reported that District Judge Jim Coronado assigned Rackley deferred adjudication, which will subject her to a full range of punishment if she breaks any of the conditions of her probation. She will also lose her driver’s license for two years and must complete 200 hours of community service, in addition to undergoing alcohol and drug testing.
This is not Rackley's first brush with the law. She was also convicted of a DWI in 2010.
Despite their tragedy, Whittington’s family encouraged the light sentence, asking the court to be as lenient as possible when deciding Rackley’s fate.
"I don't feel qualified to be God here," said Gary Whittington, the deceased’s father. "We want the least amount of punishment for the most results."
The bar where the three were drinking, the Lustre Pearl on Austin’s Rainey Street, has been heavily penalize by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. It will have to pay $40,000 or face a 45-day suspension of its liquor license, My Fox Austin reported.
"Both Ryan and Madeline were overserved and the TABC agreement that Lustre Pearl entered into really reflected the overservice of their patrons," Kathryn Snapka, an attorney representing Whittington’s family, told reporters.
Whittington’s family also filed a lawsuit against the bar, which will be heard in early 2014.