EVERETT — An Auburn woman has been sent to prison for a drunken hit-and-run crash in Lynnwood in February 2014.
Pamela Y. Stearns had two previous DUI convictions, from 2002 and 2005, court records show. The 52-year-old pleaded guilty in December to vehicular assault and hit-and-run. She was sentenced to 15 months in prison.
Stearns recently was transferred from the Snohomish County Jail to the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor.
On the night of Feb. 13, 2014, Stearns was headed home from Lynnwood when she ran a stop sign and collided with a motorcycle. The motorcyclist, Kevin Warner, suffered a shattered left knee cap and a broken bone in his left leg, plus a broken toe on his right foot, a broken bone in his right hand and a dislocated right shoulder.
Stearns drove off from the accident. Police caught up with her nearby. A blood test taken more than four hours after the crash showed her blood-alcohol level at .12. The legal limit to drive is .08.
Police found a mostly empty bottle of vodka, empty beer cans and an unopened six-pack in her car.
Warner couldn’t walk for weeks and still relies on a cane, two years later, he wrote in a letter to the judge. He has undergone four surgeries and anticipates more. At times, his pain can be “completely and totally debilitating,” he wrote.
“The emotional and physiological toll that it has taken on my family brought us to tears on many occasions in the immediate months that followed, as we recounted events and realized just how close I came to being killed, my wife becoming widowed and my children losing their father,” he wrote.
Warner was injured near his Lynnwood home. He alleged that Stearns was driving without insurance. His injuries made him lose months of pay.
Warner has tried to become less angry about what happened, he wrote. However, he still cannot understand how Stearns drove off “after seeing the immense pain that she had caused me, and then (decided) that despite all of it that I wasn’t worth her time … She nearly killed me.”
Stearns agreed to a settlement for damages with Warner last spring, court records show. The amount was not disclosed. Warner alleged at the sentencing she has not been making the payments they agreed upon.
Several people wrote letters to the court in support of her being given work release or another alternative to prison. A counselor said she has been trying to stay sober and “holds remorse in her heart for any harm which she has caused to another.”
One letter came from King County Councilman Larry Gossett, who wrote that Stearns is an important advocate and activist for American Indian rights. Stearns is a member of the Tlingit tribe of Alaska and in 2006 founded the City of Seattle Native American Employees Association, court records show.
Gossett wrote that Stearns also has been an activist against domestic violence. However, records show she has two domestic-violence misdemeanor convictions from 2010.
Gossett had asked that Stearns be allowed to work as a counselor for alcoholics instead of going to prison.
“Pamela is a special woman who has made many positive contributions to our community,” he wrote.
A state database shows that Stearns no longer has a driver’s license.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; email@example.com.