Woman pleads guilty in deadly Beltway hit-and-run
On Thursday, Kelli Loos pleaded guilty in connection with a wreck on the Capital Beltway that claimed the life of Gradys Mendoza.
Loos pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular manslaughter and one count of failure to remain at the scene of an accident resulting in death, according to the Montgomery County state's attorney’s office. Authorities have said she had a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit when she struck the pickup truck that Gradys was riding in.
The news reminded me of the phone call I made to Mendoza's home as I worked to report the story. I wanted to learn about Gradys's life, who he was and what he did.
It was the day after Mendoza died, and a roomful of family and friends had gathered at his home. They passed the phone around, telling me about him one by one.
In situations like this, people I interview are often motivated by a desire to get their side of the story out. But I couldn't help being struck by the kindness and sincerity of the people I spoke with that day.
Loos is scheduled to be sentenced in April, according to prosecutors, who say she faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
-- Dan Morse
January 15, 2010; 9:46 AM ET
Categories: Dan Morse , Montgomery , Updates
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