Sonora, California – A tragic crash led to the death of a woman’s boyfriend and injuries to her toddler as she admitted to being drunk behind the wheel.
The seven year prison sentence handed down to 32-year-old Jessica Ann Falknor was announced Friday by Tuolumne County District Attorney Laura Krieg. The crash happened on August 9, 2015 on Highway 132 after Falknor had been at a family get together that included alcohol at Don Pedro Reservoir. Driving a 2004 Honda Element she left the gathering with her boyfriend Bryon Stutts Jr. in the front passenger seat, along with her 20-year-old sister Kathryn and her 3-year-old daughter in the back seat. While traveling on Highway 132 Falknor’s car went off the roadway, down an embankment and ended up on its roof. Stutts Jr. was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. Falknor and the other passengers suffered injuries including a broken clavicle and other bones.
Assistant District Attorney Eric Hovatter, who prosecuted the case, had this reaction to the seven year sentence, “These cases are no win situation for everyone. As a prosecutor, I feel badly for the loss of a brother and son. At the same time, as a human being, I feel badly for Falknor’s family. I feel badly for her daughter whose going to be without her mother for a period of time.” He concludes, “I don’t know how to put a value on the taking of a human life. I don’t know if seven years is enough, some people would say it’s not, some people would say it’s too much.”
A blood draw was taken from Falknor almost four hours after the wreck, which set her blood alcohol level at .10 percent. However, Hovatter says that her blood alcohol level at the time of the incident was calculated to be around .16 percent. He adds that the mitigating factor in her seven year sentence was “her lack of a criminal history.”
Falknor pled guilty to vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing injury and Child Endangerment with an enhancement for causing great bodily injury to a person under the age of 5 years. Based on the seriousness of the charges she will have to serve 85 percent of her time before being eligible for parole, which is nearly six years, according to Hovatter.