Drunk driver sentenced for hitting friend

July 28, 2008 2:18:55 PM PDT
A drunk driver was sentenced Monday to eight years in prison for accidentally running over her friend when she tried to pick him up after he got out of her car. Christina Drake, 25, of Bellmead, was sentenced after pleading guilty to intoxication manslaughter. Because her vehicle was ruled a deadly weapon, she will have to serve at least half of the prison sentence before she is eligible for parole, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported in its online edition Monday.

Drake was driving one night in July 2007 with Robert Balderrama and his common-law wife when an argument broke out and Balderrama got out and began walking, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Drake inadvertently hit Balderrama, 31, of Waco, when she went back to pick him up.

In a separate drunken-driving case in Waco, Douglas Howard Church of West was sentenced last week to 30 years in prison and 10 years' probation for a 2006 collision that killed Debbie French.

After the sentence was read in court Thursday, the 26-year-old turned to French's family and said: "I'm very sorry. I know it doesn't mean much, but I really am."

Church had pleaded guilty to intoxication manslaughter in her death and to three counts of intoxication assault for injuries to three children in her pickup.

According to trial testimony, he collided with French's vehicle while passing his friend's car on a hill in a no-pass zone in West, about 20 miles north of Waco.

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