Sunlight illuminates a framed photograph of Mila and Wilfrido Sarmiento while their daughter Rowella Sarmiento cries reading her statement to the court during Caleb Wride’s sentencing on Monday, Nov. 28, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Sunlight illuminates a framed photograph of Mila and Wilfrido Sarmiento while their daughter Rowella Sarmiento cries reading her statement to the court during Caleb Wride’s sentencing on Monday, Nov. 28, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

At sentencing, family mourns parents killed in fatal DUI crash

Caleb Wride, 23, of Everett, was sentenced Monday for the head-on crash that killed Mila and Wilfrido Sarmiento.

EVERETT — A judge on Monday sentenced an Everett man to just over nine years in prison for a drunken wrong-way crash that killed retired Lynnwood couple Mila and Wilfrido Sarmiento.

Dozens of loved ones of the deceased couple and the defendant packed a Snohomish County Superior Court gallery this week at the sentencing hearing for Caleb Wride, 23.

Three surviving children of the couple — Wilfrido Jr., Rowella and Marlin — cried as they spoke in court, sharing memories of their parents and the crash that killed them. More than 10 other family members also addressed the court.

Since the fatal crash, Wilfrido Jr. said he has spoken in court three times. He held back tears as he addressed the court again this week.

“There is no way to return the time to my parents so they can enjoy the retirement that they worked so hard to achieve,” Wilfrido Jr. told the court. “Or for them to spend time with their grandchildren. Or to take the time to remedy any mistakes they may have made in life. Unfairly, time is the only thing that Caleb Wride stands to lose.”

Rowella Sarmiento placed a framed photograph of her parents on the table in front of her before she addressed the court.

“These are my parents here,” she said. “Smiling, happy. This is how I remember them.”

Defense attorney Laura Shaver presented the court with a 15-minute video featuring friends and family speaking highly of the defendant, saying the crash was out of character for Wride.

A woman who identified as Wride’s mother in the video described her son as “kind-hearted” and “laid back.”

“If you need somebody, or if you’re going without, he’ll be the guy that comes and helps you,” she said. “He’ll be the guy that makes sure you have what you need.”

Wride apologized to family and friends of the victims at the hearing, saying he was truly sorry.

Earlier this month, Wride pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide under the influence and in a reckless manner.

Just before 1 a.m. Feb. 19, a man was driving south on I-5. He was in the right lane, about to take the 128th Street exit, when he saw a Chrysler 200 driving toward him on the exit ramp. The man flashed his headlights to try and alert the Chrysler driver they were going the wrong way.

Wride was behind the wheel of the Chrysler, charging papers say. The Chrysler kept going and entered I-5, north in the southbound lanes. The car reportedly cut across all five lanes and was headed north in the southbound HOV lane. Multiple people called 911 about the erratic driver in the Chrysler. One witness reported she was driving south on the interstate when she saw the northbound Chrysler swerving around oncoming traffic before it passed by her on the other side of the road.

“She lost sight of it and then saw a plume of smoke as she approached the 41st Street exit,” deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow wrote.

Troopers arrived to the scene to find Wride’s Chrysler had crashed head-on into a Volkswagen Beetle. The front ends of both cars were smashed and totaled, Darrow wrote.

Wilfrido Sarmiento, 67, and Mila Sarmiento, 65, died at the scene.

A blood sample obtained after the crash reportedly test measured Wride’s blood-alcohol content at 0.18, more than twice the legal limit. His THC-blood content was measured at 18 nanograms, over three times the legal limit. A toxicology report included in charging records indicated the margin of error for the THC test was five nanograms.

Under state sentencing guidelines, Wride faced a range of just under eight years to nearly 10½ years behind bars. Both the deputy prosecutor and defense attorney presented the judge with an agreed recommendation at the low end of that range.

At the sentencing hearing, Judge Paul Thompson handed down a sentence in the middle of that range.

“Mr. Wride, I hope you appreciate your actions this evening affected an entire community,” Thompson said. “I hope you listened to what all of these people said. Likely all of their lives are forever changed in a way that cannot be repaired.”

Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486; ellen.dennis@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterellen.

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