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Woman avoids prison for fatality

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GREENFIELD — A Greenfield woman who was driving under the influence of cocaine when she caused an accident that killed her husband will not go to prison.

Rebecca Garner, 30, pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance, causing death, a Class B felony, Tuesday afternoon in Hancock Circuit Court.

She was sentenced to eight years, four to be served through Hancock County Community Corrections following by four years on probation. Garner’s sentence will begin with work release, followed by home detention. The time frame will be at the discretion of officials at community corrections.

Her license was also suspended for two years, prosecutors said.

The accident occurred last August, when Garner ran through a stop sign at the intersection of Ind. 234 and Meridian Road.

Garner, who southbound on Meridian Road, told police she didn’t see the stop sign as she approached the intersection. Garner’s vehicle collided with a pickup truck.

Her husband, Chad Garner, died from blunt-force trauma. Rebecca Garner was airlifted to an Indianapolis hospital with internal injuries. The driver of the pickup was not seriously harmed.

Garner, who had no prior criminal record, later admitted to investigators she had used cocaine within the previous few days before the accident. Toxicology results later revealed there was still enough cocaine in Garner’s system for her to be considered impaired.

At the time of the crash, the couple had been driving around for hours discussing their marital problems, according to charging documents filed in the case.

At Tuesday’s sentencing hearing before Judge Richard Culver, three of Garner’s former in-laws came to court to support her, prosecutors said. One, Chad Garner’s father, testified on her behalf, asking the court for leniency.

A second lesser charge, operating a vehicle while intoxicated, causing death, was dismissed Tuesday.

Staff writer Maribeth Vaughn contributed to this report.

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