It was a couple days before his 27th wedding anniversary that Bill Bishop was killed by a drunken driver who had methamphetamine in her system.
Kelli Lynn Martin, 37, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide Wednesday for the July 21 wreck in Auburn. She was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison for the 67-year-old Orting man’s death.
“I get to go home,” Martin told the court at sentencing. “That man doesn’t.”
“Apparently his wife doesn’t either,” Pierce County Superior Court Judge Ronald Culpepper added. “She lost her home.”
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Bev Bishop told the court she and her husband were buying the home they had been renting for years, but she lost it after his death. Without the income her husband earned as a car salesman, the deal fell through.
“Bill is my best friend,” she said, while showing photos of her husband, who had a thick mustache and sometimes wore a cowboy hat.
He liked to play country music on his bass.
Martin’s vehicle crashed with Bishop’s on East Valley Highway, near Lake Tapps Parkway, apparently as she was trying pass someone.
According to charging papers, she was drinking with friends in Puyallup before the wreck, and falsely told witnesses to the crash she was 18 weeks pregnant with twins and had fallen asleep.
Investigators said she also worried her breath smelled of alcohol, and asked one witness for gum.
Before Culpepper agreed to the low-end sentence recommended by the defense and prosecution, he pointed out Martin’s blood-alcohol level after the wreck. It was 0.18, above the legal limit of 0.08.
“That’s 10, 15 drinks, or something,” the judge said of her test results. “And the methamphetamine didn’t help.”
Martin and her attorney told Culpepper she felt remorseful about what happened, and that she has a 5-year-old son.
“I just want to take responsibility,” Martin said.