The agony from what happened that night consumes the teen's family and the family of the young man found guilty of causing her death.
Their pain was evident Wednesday in a packed Snohomish County Superior Court chamber where Garrett Turski of Camano Island was sentenced to three years in prison. A jury convicted him of vehicular homicide last month.
Turski, 21, told the judge he can't remember the accident. A jury didn't buy the defense argument that he might not have been behind the wheel of his convertible Ford Mustang when it left the road, vaulted over a ditch, struck some trees and landed back on the road.
Turski was discovered in the trunk. Investigators found a hole in the rear deck area of the car and believe Turski was thrown into the trunk when the car crashed, according to court papers.
Floyd, 17, was ejected from the car and died of head injuries at the scene. She had registered to begin classes to become a dental assistant.
Turski told Judge George Appel: "I honestly don't remember what happened, but I do take full responsibility ... It's something that haunts me every day."
He said he would not have put people through the agony of a trial if he could remember what happened and knew he was behind the steering wheel.
"Mr. Turski, this is not something that just happened," Appel said. "This is something that you did."
Leanne Floyd, Ellen's mother, described how hard the tragedy has been on her and her two surviving children. She questioned Turski's account.
"She was my Ellie and she was so sweet," she said.
Her daughter's body was found about two hours after the collision in bushes near where the Mustang had hit the trees.
"She is not coming back, and I understand nothing will bring her back, but your honor, please hold this man accountable for his actions," she said.
The prison term was in the middle of the standard sentencing range set by state law.
Appel considered several factors in reaching his decision. Boding in Turski's favor was the support of his family, his potential to do well and his lack of a criminal history before the conviction.
At the same time, the judge said it was hard to gauge whether the defendant was taking appropriate responsibility.
Investigators believed that Turski was speeding and drunk when he lost control of his car in April 2010.
Witnesses told investigators that Turski and some friends were drinking alcohol in the hours before the crash. A home video surveillance camera shows Turski leaving a friend's house with Floyd about 4:05 a.m. Turski was captured on video surveillance a few minutes later at a gas station purchasing cigarettes. The camera showed Turski's car leaving the store about 90 seconds later. It appeared that he was driving and Floyd was in the passenger seat, court papers said.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; email@example.com.
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