Natasia Wood, the speeding driver who killed an off-duty firefighter in October 2013, has been sentenced, and the outcome is one friends and family are understandably upset about.
Wood, reportedly driving 22 miles over the posted speed limit and going around 70 miles per hour, lost control of her car and hit 37-year-old Darin Steffey head-on.
Steffey was on a motorcycle, and his co-workers had to serve as first responders to the crash. On Friday, sentencing was handed down for Natasia, and the final verdict: one day in the Las Colinas Detention Facility along with three years of probation and community service.
The judge referred to it as a “very terrible, tragic, one-time mistake.”
Speaking at the Natasia Wood sentencing, Steffey’s mother, Jill Reid, said the accident “means no wedding celebration, no grandchildren to love, no family gatherings that we would be a cherished part of,” NBC San Diego reports.
Heather Steffey, sister of the deceased, also addressed Wood at the sentencing.
“There is nothing in life that will ever be worse than losing my brother. He was my built-in best friend, family and support. [His death] has crippled my existence, left me almost hysterical and unable to deal with the things that I used to be able to deal with,” she said. “It has broken my life.”
“I valued no person more on this Earth. That’s what you took from me,” Heather said, holding back tears. “I wear my brother around my neck in an urn every day and sometimes hear his sweet voice joking around as we used to.”
Steffey was engaged to Jessica Raddatz, who also spoke at the sentencing.
While the 22-year-old Wood did not speak, her father Carlos said she had been unexpectedly called in to work and was rushing to get to her place of employment on the day of the accident.
Carlos Wood said he believed the accident was just that, an accident, and that his daughter “wakes up in the middle of the night screaming because of what she did.”
While many commenters on Fox 5 San Diego’s website were irate with the verdict, Wood did receive some support with one pointing out, “She was just driving (SOBER) like the rest of us and was at fault in a traffic collision where someone died. That happens a lot more often than we think and very rarely are criminal charges filed much less is there ever a conviction. She plead guilty avoiding a costly trial though at the same time giving up any hope of being found innocent. Probation is a fair sentence in this case. No amount of punishment will bring back the deceased man so let’s not destroy two lives where we don’t need to.”
What do you think, readers? Was justice served in the case of Natasia Wood, or should the court have come down harder?