GLASGOW – A woman accused of being drunk behind the wheel during a deadly crash last year pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree manslaughter, avoiding a trial that had been set to begin Tuesday.
Lee Ann Tarry, 49, of Glasgow, pleaded guilty in Barren Circuit Court to that charge as well as operating a motor vehicle while under the influence.
Tarry was originally arrested on a charge of murder and DUI following the crash that killed Shanda Shockley, 24, of Glasgow, on the night of Jan. 26, 2018.
Tarry was driving a 2013 Cadillac that struck the back of Shockley’s 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt while it was stopped at the traffic light in the southbound lane of Veterans Outer Loop.
A toxicology report from Kentucky State Police said Tarry had a blood-alcohol content of 0.263 percent hours after the crash, more than three times the legal limit for drivers.
Barren County Commonwealth’s Attorney John Gardner extended a plea offer recommending a 10-year sentence, the maximum penalty for second-degree manslaughter.
In court Tuesday, Tarry admitted to wantonly causing Shockley’s death.
Gardner said he consulted with Shockley’s family months earlier about the possible scenarios had the case gone to trial.
While Gardner believed there was more than enough evidence to convict Tarry of murder, he said a jury could have possibly returned a guilty verdict on the lesser count of second-degree manslaughter.
Shockley’s family was prepared to take the case to trial after meeting with Gardner but reconsidered some time later.
“After they informed me of their desire to have this case resolved I reached an agreement with the defendant,” Gardner said in a statement. “This is not a perfect outcome, but it is one the victim’s family is satisfied with and ensures the defendant accepts responsibility for her actions the evening of Jan. 26, 2018.”
Tarry’s attorney, Steve Romines, filed motions in July to suppress the blood sample and the search warrant used to authorize collection of the sample, arguing in court filings that the language in the search warrant was too vague and violated Tarry’s due process rights.
The motion was never heard in court.
Tarry, who is free on a $500,000 surety bond, was ordered by Barren Circuit Judge John Alexander to return to court Nov. 18 for sentencing.