Kimberly Myers was driving home from work early the morning of Jan. 3, a day temperatures dipped well below freezing. She had just worked overtime because her replacement at the answering service company in West Valley City was late.
As Kimberly guided her Volkswagen south along 32nd West shortly before 3 a.m., a Ford Thunderbird driven by Doreen Napoli sped west on 31st South, pushing 65 mph in a 35 mph zone.Napoli's car went through the red light at the intersection. Kimberly's compact car slammed into Napoli's and spun about 270 degrees to the right, ejecting her onto the eastbound
anes of 31st South. Kimberly, who would have turned 19 three days later, was killed instantly.
Napoli, 19, fled on foot, leaving a friend behind to say he was the one driving the car. When the friend learned that a person had been killed, he told West Valley police who the real driver was. Napoli was located at her home three hours after the accident, and a blood test revealed her blood was 0.12 percent alcohol. Utah's legal limit is 0.08 percent.
Because of the alcohol involved and the negligent manner in which Napoli was driving, Deputy Salt Lake County Attorney Greg Skordas charged her with a second-degree felony count of vehicle homicide. (Most fatal drunken-driving accidents result in a third-degree felony charge.) She was also charged with misdemeanor hit-and-run.
In a plea bargain on Aug. 22, Napoli was allowed to plead guilty to a third-degree felony. The hit-and-run was dismissed.
Sentencing, originally scheduled for Sept. 19, was postponed to Oct. 3 to allow her defense attorney to review a presentence report.
For the Kimberly Myers family, the delay has been disappointing. Angry friends and relatives of the victim stormed out of 3rd District Judge Raymond Uno's courtroom, cursing the judge and the defense attorneys for "dragging this thing out another two weeks."
For Mayre Myers, Kimberly's mother, the disappointment of the delay is surpassed only by the realization that Napoli is likely not going to be spending time behind prison bars.
"I would be surprised if she gets a year in jail," said Myers. "But nine months to one year is not enough."
In fact, Myers and her family sent a letter to the judge, asking him to make Napoli spend five years in prison, pay a $2,000 fine, and spend 500 hours speaking to high school students about the dangers of drinking and driving. The family also suggested she take remedial driving courses, enroll in an alcohol rehabilitation program and take high school education courses.
The letter states, "For the last few years, Utah has said it is getting tough on drunk drivers. Up to this point, we have not seen it. It is high time that people started paying for their actions."
"I don't think any of (our suggestions are) too unreasonable for someone who killed another human being," Myers said.
Following the presentence recommendation of Adult Probation and Parole, prosecutor Skordas is going to recommend a year in jail.
Skordas, however, is not convinced that jail is the answer for Napoli, whom he says must be treated as a first offender, despite a DUI arrest on her juvenile record.
"What Doreen Napoli really needs is some counseling. She needs a job and schooling. She doesn't belong in jail, in my opinion. She won't learn anything from it."