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Woman pleads guilty over fatal crash.

Byline: Greg Bolt The Register-Guard

A Sweet Home woman is facing a 10-year prison sentence for driving drunk and causing a collision that killed another woman in November.

Traci Lynn Akers, 38, pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree manslaughter for killing 46-year-old Westfir resident Lori Jean McNamara in a Nov. 19 wreck on Highway 58 near Lowell. Akers had steered her westbound 2003 Dodge Durango across the road's centerline and collided with McNamara's oncoming 2012 Chevrolet Cruze.

Akers at times choked back tears Wednesday as she admitted recklessly causing Mc Namara's death and driving while intoxicated when the wreck occurred. She also pleaded guilty to third- degree assault, harass ment and recklessly endangering another.

Akers stood quietly and answered "Yes, I did" each time Lane County Circuit Judge Mary Ann Bearden asked if she had committed the alleged crimes. Her sentencing is set for Tuesday.

Under a plea agreement reached with prosecutors, Akers was allowed to plead guilty to second- degree manslaughter instead of first-degree manslaughter, the crime she was indicted on. Second-degree manslaughter is a Measure 11 crime with a mandatory sentence of six years and three months in prison.

But the agreement also calls for a 45-month sentence on the third- degree assault charge, to be served consecutively to the manslaughter sentence. That results in a total sentence of 10 years, the same as the Measure 11 sentence for first-degree manslaughter.

The difference is that third-degree assault is not a Measure 11 crime. So once Akers completes her full 75-month sentence for second-degree manslaughter and begins the assault sentence, she will be able to accumulate time off for good behavior and for other prison programs not available under Measure 11 sentences.

Akers will serve sentences on the remaining charges at the same time as the manslaughter charge.

Akers' 14-year-old daughter was a passenger in her car at the time of the collision. She is now living with other family members.

Akers and her daughter were treated at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield after suffering minor injuries in the crash. Akers reportedly tussled with medics while en route to the hospital, police said at the time.

This wasn't the first time Akers has been in trouble over drinking and driving. She was convicted of drunken driving, fourth-degree assault and reckless driving in 2004.
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Title Annotation:Courts; Traci Lynn Akers, 38, of Sweet Home was driving drunk when she killed Lori Jean McNamara of Westfir
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 7, 2013
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