Frances Marquart never thought in her 74 years that she’d be responsible for someone’s death.
Now that she was in that position, she told a Pierce County judge on Thursday that it was “the heaviest burden one can bear.”
Marquart ran a stop sign April 1 in Tacoma, causing a wreck that killed 58-year-old Ronald Curtis.
On Thursday, the woman was in front of Superior Court Judge Katherine Stolz, where she pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and awaited sentencing.
The defense and prosecution recommended Marquart, who has no criminal history, not serve time behind bars. Stolz agreed and ruled Marquart would not have to serve prison time.
The day of the wreck Marquart had been trying to find her way to a medical appointment, and got confused as a result of prescribed medicine she’d taken.
According to charging papers, she had twice the recommended dose of an antidepressant in her system when her car hit the one Curtis was riding in, at South 40th Street and South Yakima Avenue.
Marquart apologized for what happened, and told the judge she wouldn’t have gotten behind the wheel had she known she wasn’t fit to drive.
“She does feel absolutely horrible,” defense attorney Wayne Fricke told Stolz.
Marquart started taking the medicine after her husband suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle, Fricke said.
Curtis’ sister, Roxann Levesque, wrote the court that photos and memories of Curtis are all his family has left.
“It’s hard to believe a traffic violation could result in such devastating consequences,” her statement said.