Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Woman pleads guilty to drunk-driving deaths


A 20-year-old Jefferson County woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of involuntary manslaughter in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.

Sela Kalama admitted that in the hours before crashing her car, she had numerous bottles of beer at a party on the Lower Elwha Klallam Indian Reservation, just outside Port Angeles, in Clallam County.

Under sentencing guidelines, Kalama could face up to 36 months in prison. Sentencing is set for March 7. Kalama lives in Queets, near the western edge of the Olympic National Park.

According to reports, Kalama had six teenage passengers in her car March 18 when she drove into the Elwha River at 3 a.m. Four of her passengers escaped, but two passengers, Vanna Francis, 16, and Ronnie Scroggins, 15, were not able to get out of the car and drowned.

Witnesses also said Kalama was texting on her cell phone when the accident happened. She sent one text message about 90 minutes before the car went in the water stating "I'm drunk."

The case was investigated by the FBI, the Clallam County Sheriff's Office and the Lower Elwha Tribal Police.

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