Her 16th traffic violation took a life. Family disappointed in 60 day jail sentence
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IDAHO FALLS — The distracted driver responsible for the death of one woman and the paralysis of another will go to jail for two months after pleading guilty this week.
Patricia Beyer, of Idaho Falls, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge and failure to maintain liability insurance, an infraction, as part of a plea agreement.
Magistrate Judge Stephen Clark sentenced Beyer to 60 days in jail with work release, two years of supervised probation, and also ordered she pay restitution.
Clark ordered a three-year driver’s license suspension. The deceased victim’s family had asked for a lifetime suspension.
“We would have liked her license to be suspended a lot longer,” Anne’s father, Bill Davis, told EastIdahoNews.com after the sentencing. “But even if Mrs. Beyer would have gotten a longer sentence, we still wouldn’t have Anne.”
According to court records, the manslaughter charge brings Beyer’s traffic violation total to 16 in Idaho. She has previously been found guilty of charges of driving without privileges, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to maintain insurance, speeding and other violations.
Davis said the lenient charges surprised him.
“Really, we thought this should have been a felony,” Davis said. “Anne was wearing ribbons, a large reflective triangle, flashing lights, everything to warn oncoming traffic that she was there. Yet all we see is a misdemeanor charge for someone with Mrs. Beyer’s history? We try not to be angry, but its hard.”
“The Legislature has deemed that violations of traffic laws that result in fatalities are generally misdemeanors under Idaho law.”
Bonneville County Deputy Prosecutor John Dewey says Idaho law prompted the charges against Beyer.
“The consequence of a misdemeanor charge for the defendant certainly seems disproportionate because the consequences suffered by the victim and the family left behind are so devastating,” he said. “Unfortunately, these scenarios can never make a victim’s family whole, which is difficult. Nevertheless, the Legislature has deemed that violations of traffic laws that result in fatalities are generally misdemeanors under Idaho law.”
Beyer was driving home July 13, 2016, from her job at the Ririe Bar when she hit Anne Davis, 22, of Virginia, who was killed.
The other victim was Laura Stark, of Michigan. She was listed in critical condition for several days following the crash and spent nearly two months recovering at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. She remains paralyzed from the chest down.
Both bicyclists were riding at the end of the group when they were struck from behind. They were two of 25 people riding cross country to raise money for a nonprofit focused on providing affordable housing.
“They gave us what was left of her belongings at the scene,” Davis told EastIdahoNews.com. “She had a camera that was completely destroyed, yet the memory card was intact. It took me months to find the courage to plug that in. Now it’s a labor of love. There are photos and videos all the way up to just hours before she was hit. I haven’t gotten that far yet. I can only get through a few at a time.”
Davis said it is so good to see her and to hear her voice, but it does bring tears to his eyes and his heart.
Stark and her family were also present for the sentencing. She hasn’t let being paralysis stop her. She was unavailable for comment Wednesday afternoon but posts on Facebook show she is learning to ride an adapted bike that she pedals with her arms.