LITITZ, Pa. (AP) — A woman has been sentenced to probation after pleading no contest to involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment in a crash in Pennsylvania that killed two high school students almost two years ago.
Debra Slaymaker-Walker, 64, appeared Tuesday in Lancaster County court to enter the no-contest plea, in which a defendant does not admit guilt but concedes that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict.
Prosecutors said the Mount Joy resident was driving more than 70 mph when she plowed into several vehicles in Warwick Township in October 2018, killing two Warwick High School students, 17-year-old Meghan Keeney and 16-year-old Jack Nicholson, and seriously injuring another student.
Slaymaker-Walker was originally charged with third-degree murder, but her attorneys contended that she had had an epilectic seizure or seizures around the time of the crash. She was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years' probation and ordered to receive medical treatment for her epilepsy and to pay restitution.
Slaymaker-Walker said in court that she “was and still am horrified by this accident.” She wept as said she prays for the families of the victims “every day.”
Nicholson's mother, Donna Nicholson Stief, said the family wasn't consulted about the plea agreement, which she called “ridiculous," and said the case should have gone to trial. Kenney's parents echoed her comments.
Prosecutors, however, said they had “multiple discussions" with the victims and families about the resolution of the case.