Woman Sentenced for DUI Crash That Cost Casper Motorcyclist A Leg
A Casper woman, who admitted to having a BAC of nearly three times the legal limit when she caused an April crash that cost a motorcyclist his leg, was sentenced to 7 to 10 years in the Wyoming Women's Center on Wednesday.
The maximum sentence for DUI with serious bodily injury is 10 years behind bars.
In October, Kam Lopez admitted to having a BAC of .22 percent when she pulled out into traffic in the 1600 block of Yellowstone Highway causing Dana Patrick Young to collide with her on his motorcycle. Young underwent multiple surgeries to amputate his right leg. Eventually, he lost all of it up to his hip.
Young passed away in December, but doctors did not directly link his death to the April crash.
Lopez will not have to pay the more than $600,000 in medical bills the Young family accrued following the accident. Natrona County District Court Judge Daniel Forgey said that's because Lopez will likely never afford that amount.
During Wednesday's sentencing Dana Young's wife, Candice Young, said Lopez's choice to drive drunk took her husband away from her. Their grandchildren will never get to have their grandfather watch them grow up, Candice Young said.
Candice Young said her husband was as safe as a motorcycle rider around. He frequently cautioned his friends not to ride at night because that's when drunk drivers come out.
But Kam Lopez was driving drunk at 10:30 a.m. when she pulled out, causing Dana Young to hit her.
Natrona County District Attorney Dan Itzen said Dana Young was driving the speed limit when the crash occurred. He was on his way to drop something off.
Itzen said Lopez told police at the scene that she did not see Dana Young coming in the seconds before the collision.
"That's probably accurate," Itzen said. "She was profoundly intoxicated."
For his part, Dana Young did everything he could to avoid a collision, but it was too late.
During an addiction severity index evaluation, Lopez said she didn't feel like she had a problem with alcohol.
"She must be the only person in this courtroom who believes that," Itzen said.
But simply having a problem with alcohol does not take away from the severity of Lopez's choice to drive drunk the morning of April 26. It was her choice, not addiction, that cost Dana Young his leg, Itzen said.
"(Lopez) put the key in the ignition and chose to drive drunk," Itzen said. "Nothing about being drunk forces you to drive."
Dana Young's grandson also gave a brief victim's impact statement during Wednesday's sentencing hearings.
"My papa was my best buddy ever," the child said. "Why did you do this?"
Before Forgey handed down the 7 to 10-year prison sentence, Lopez tearfully said she was sorry for the choice she made to drive drunk.
"I can't imagine what you're going through," she said to the family.
After Forgey issued his sentence, a sheriff's deputy escorted Lopez from the courtroom.