Woman sent to prison in hit-and-run fatality

The judge refused to go along with a defense request for a sentencing alternative.

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WALLA WALLA -- A hit-and-run driver who struck and fatally injured a man at a bus shelter last August was led out of a Superior Court courtroom Monday afternoon to begin serving a nearly four-year prison term.

Marsha-Gaye M. Hogg, 34, of 1114 S.E. Scenic View Drive, College Place, was ordered to prison for 45 months, which is near the midpoint of the standard range of 41-54 months she faced for the crimes of vehicular homicide and hit-and-run involving a fatality.

In handing down the sentence, Judge Donald W. Schacht refused to go along with a defense request for a sentencing alternative that would have allowed the single mother to remain in the community and continue to rear her 11-year-old son, Jared, known as J.C.

Speaking softly before the sentence was imposed, Hogg told Schacht she is "deeply regretful."

She maintains she didn't know she struck a person -- Timothy Wood -- when her vehicle hit the bus shelter about 12:15 a.m. Aug. 29. "The accident wasn't personal or willful," she said, later adding, "I wish it had not happened, but I cannot take it back."

She said she decided to take her frightened child -- who was a passenger -- home after the crash "and deal with the matter from there."

However, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney April King told Schacht that Hogg took a sleeping pill when she got home and went to bed. She then became combative after officers arrived to investigate, King said.

Hogg -- who had posted bail after her arrest -- displayed no emotion as she was led from the courtroom following Monday's hearing.

She and her attorney, Jerry Makus, were urging she receive a parenting sentencing alternative under a state law passed last year. The alternative would have allowed her to escape incarceration in lieu of a year of community custody and certain types of treatment and training.

Makus admitted to Schacht that Hogg "did some very bad things," but said she had been a model citizen and will be affected by the felony convictions for the rest of her life whether she's incarcerated or not.

But the prosecution was vigorously opposing the alternative and Schacht said it wouldn't be appropriate in this case, particularly since Hogg left the scene of the crash that resulted in a fatality.

He told Hogg, "Somebody lost their life and lost it as a direct result of your behavior that night."

Hogg pleaded guilty April 1. She admitted driving with disregard for the safety of others and leaving the scene after her vehicle ran into the Valley Transit shelter in the 1100 block of West Rose Street, striking Wood who was in or near it. The 51-year-old Wood, of Portland, suffered critical injuries and died at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle on Sept. 14.

After the collision, Hogg took off in the damaged vehicle westbound, leaving marks on the roadway that led officers to the vehicle parked in her garage a short time later.

Hogg was located at the residence and admitted she struck the shelter when the vehicle went out of control, according to a police report filed in court. Neither she nor J.C. was injured, officials said.

The police report says she told a detective she had had a few drinks earlier and he could smell intoxicants when interviewing her.

J.C. is bright, well-mannered and successful in school, according to family and friends who wrote letters to Schacht in support of the sentencing alternative. The correspondence described Hogg as an excellent mother, considerate and kind-hearted, who would be devastated to be separated from her child.

Hogg also was described in various letters as a woman of integrity, responsibility and respect, who never would have left the scene of a collision without providing help if she had known she had struck a person.

But King -- who was urging a 47 1/2-month prison term for Hogg -- finds that assertion "questionable." King said Hogg was emotionally detached the night of the crash and later minimized the degree to which alcohol played a part, even challenging the accuracy of the 0.2 blood-alcohol reading. The legal driving limit is 0.08.

King wrote in a previously submitted legal brief that a parenting alternative wouldn't be in the interests of justice or the community, nor would it promote respect for the law or be proportionate to the seriousness of the charges.

She maintained Hogg's actions were particularly egregious, showed total disrespect for the safety of the victim, Wood, and even her son who was a passenger in her vehicle.

J.C. -- who Monday begged Schacht not to send his mother away -- left the courtroom in tears. He presumably will live with relatives while Hogg is incarcerated.

After her release, Hogg will submit to a year of community custody, a form of probation. She also will have to pay $105,296.46 in restitution.

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