Authorities in Louisiana say a 28-year-old woman with a history of drunk driving arrests was sentenced to 20 years behind bars in connection with a vehicle crash that killed a father of seven last year.
According to Fox News, Olivia Matte was driving along the Lake Pontchatrain Causeway on March 23, 2017, when she rear-ended a vehicle being driven by 37-year-old James Blackmond.
Kelly Johnson, a passenger in his truck, sustained injuries in the collision while Matte was reportedly unharmed.
Blackmond, a husband and father of seven, was killed when a guard rail impaled him, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
His wife addressed the court during the trial.
“Olivia Matte didn’t just kill my husband; she killed me, also,” Queenita Blackmond said.
The defendant’s decision to drive drunk cost pain to the victim and those who loved him, the grieving widow said.
“Her total disregard for life cost me mine,” she told the court.
Upon her arrest at the time of the crash, authorities found Matte’s blood alcohol content was nearly three times the legal limit at .216.
Police records indicate she had faced two other DWI-related charges within a nine-month period preceding the fatal collision.
She pleaded guilty in September to criminal counts including vehicular homicide, driving with a suspended license, and careless operation of a vehicle.
Matte apologized to her victim’s loved ones, testifying that she had turned to alcohol during a bout of depression.
“I am sorry and I’ve always been sorry,” she said. “I wanted it to have been me gone, not him.”
Her father also addressed Blackmond’s family to apologize on behalf of “a good person” guilty of making a “terrible mistake.”
Barry Matte said “she is going to pay for” her crime.
The victim’s family had requested a sentence of 25 to 30 years in prison.
[Featured images: Facebook, police handout]