Driver in multi-injury crash gets suspended sentence

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WALLA WALLA — The driver of a car that plowed into a parked sport utility vehicle, injuring his passengers, was handed a time-served sentence Monday afternoon in Walla Walla County Superior Court.

Jesus T. Sosapavon, 18, technically was ordered to serve 364 days in the County Jail.

But, as recommended by the prosecution, Judge Scott Wolfram gave him credit for the 10 days he spent there after his arrest in June until he was released pending the outcome of his case.

Wolfram suspended the remaining 354 days, placed Sosapavon on two years of probation, ordered he attend a DUI victim panel, and pay more than $900 in restitution and court costs.

Before the sentence was imposed, Sosapavon’s attorney, Robert Van Dorn, told Wolfram his client is a senior at Walla Walla High School and never before had been in trouble with the law.

Sosapavon is a “people pleaser,” Van Dorn said, adding the wreck occurred because a couple passengers had to get home and he went too fast.

“We’re glad people who got hurt are well again and are doing fine,” Van Dorn said.

Sosapavon pleaded guilty Sept. 18 to the gross-misdemeanor charge of reckless driving, which carries a maximum jail term of one year.

He initially faced two counts of vehicular assault, which are felonies, but they were dropped in exchange for his guilty plea.

Police say the wreck occurred about 10:30 p.m. June 28 in the 500 block of Washington Street.

Sosapavon and three teenage passengers were traveling in a borrowed 2000 Pontiac at a high rate of speed when he overshot a curve in the road and struck the legally parked 2012 Dodge SUV.

Passengers identified as Carmen McKenna French and Brandon Hernandez reportedly were injured and unresponsive when law enforcement arrived. The initial charges against Sosapavon related to “substantial” injuries they allegedly received.

All three passengers — including French’s twin sister Samantha K. French — were treated at local hospitals and released.

Sosapavon, of 800 Clay Street, “disclosed that he had consumed alcohol prior to driving the motor vehicle,” a police report says.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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