Last Modified: Friday, July 26, 2013 11:07 PM
A judge in 14th Judicial District Court sentenced a woman to three years in prison for killing two people while driving under the influence of drugs.
Megan Schexnider, 27, pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide in May in relation to an April 2012 accident on the U.S. 171 Calcasieu River bridge that left Austin Vincent, and his 13-year-old daughter, Dalensia Rose, dead.
The vehicle Austin and Rose were in had a flat tire, which Austin had gotten out of the car to change. He was reportedly struck and killed by Schexnider’s vehicle. Another person in Austin and Rose’s vehicle suffered moderate injuries.
Judge Clayton Davis sentenced Schexnider to a total of five years on each count to run concurrent with each other, but suspended two years. She received credit for the year and two months she has spent in jail.
Three family members of the victims walked out when the sentence was read.
Davis called the sentencing a “no-win situation” in which some in the victims’ families wanted the hammer and Schexnider’s family wanted her out of prison because she has a young child.
Davis said that from looking at the police diagram there was a “piling on of errors,” but that other drivers had managed to avoid them.
Davis said witnesses’ statements showed that Schexnider’s driving that day was “reckless” and that she had nearly missed the bridge entirely.
Vehicular homicide charges are the toughest to sentence because there is never intent, Davis said.
He said driving impaired sometimes ends in tragedy and other times ends with no consequences.
Dionne Austin, the sister of Vincent Austin,
said during an impassioned victim impact statement that she forgave and loved Schexnider. After the sentencing she said that it was “almost a slap in the face,” although she continued to say she forgave Schexnider.
Keelan Rose, the 13-year-old girl’s uncle, called the sentence a “complete failure of justice.”
“She made her choice, but she chose for them also,” he said.
After the sentencings, members of Schexnider’s and the victims’ families met in the hall. While there was some discord, there were also hugs exchanged as Schexnider’s family apologized for her actions.
During his victim impact statement, Keelan Rose called the accident an “unspeakable tragedy.”
He said Schexnider had harmed his family in three ways — by driving while under the influence of drugs, by not pleading guilty earlier and by not apologizing to the family.
He said the family had been sentenced to a life of heartache and unanswered questions. He said he wanted her to suffer but hoped God changed his heart.
During her victim impact statement, Dionne Austin called her brother “my buddy, my best friend, my go-to guy.”
She turned to Schexnider and told her she loved her and forgave her because there “is no joy to be found in vengeance.” She ended her statement with a passage from 1 Corinthians 13.
Schexnider said she took responsibility for her actions, then turned to the victims’ families and her own family and apologized to both of them.