No jail time for driver
in 2012 fatality
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 11:00 AM
A Madison woman arrested after a September 2012 fatal wreck will not face prison time.
April D. Bates, 32, of Madison, received a one-year suspended sentence and a 90-day driver's license suspension for her involvement in a two-vehicle collision that killed 26-year-old Everett Schafer.
Jefferson County Superior Court Judge Alison Frazier issued her ruling Tuesday.
Bates was driving on State Road 7 near Big Creek Lane when she went left of center and struck a pick-up truck. Schafer, a passenger in the vehicle Bates was driving, was pronounced dead at the scene. Bates had a suspended license at the time of the wreck and a blood-alcohol level below the legal limit.
She was originally charged with a Class C felony, operating a vehicle while suspended resulting in death. But on Tuesday, Bates pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of driving while license suspended, a Class A misdemeanor.
Bates testified that since the wreck, she has had her driver's license reinstated, purchased a car, purchased insurance and regained her license as a practicing nurse. She told the judge she is the sole provider for four children.
Mary Jean Stotts represented Bates and argued that Bates' prior license suspension was because of a civil matter, not a criminal case.
Frazier gave Bates the minimum license suspension allowed by state statute. She also commended Bates on changing her life, saying, "There is nothing else you could do to rehabilitate yourself."
As part of the sentence, Bates also will report to the Jefferson County Probation Office for the next 90 days.