More than a dozen students injured in a bus crash in Grant County looked on as video of the crash was shown in court. Their driver, Angelynna Young, was in court to learn how long she'll spend in jail.
Young was driving a school bus that crashed into a utility pole in January.
17 students were hurt, including two critically. Investigators say a drug test showed Young had cocaine, marijuana, and a prescription painkiller in her system at the time of the crash.
Young tried to change her plea this morning in Grant County Circuit Court. Her lawyer argued that he never advised her to plead guilty.
The judge dismissed the argument and went ahead with the sentencing phase.
Each child injured in the crash testified in the hearing.
The judge followed the original plea agreement, sentencing Young to 22 years in prison. She'll be eligible for parole in about 10 years.
School bus driver sentenced to 22 years in crash
WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. (AP) - A northern Kentucky woman at the wheel of a school bus during a crash that sent two middle school students to the hospital and injured 15 others was sentenced on Thursday to 22 years in prison.
Angelynna Young, 29, had asked at the beginning of her sentencing hearing to withdraw her guilty plea to drug and assault charges and go to trial, but Grant County Circuit Court Judge Stephen Bates turned down the request, The Kentucky Enquirer reported on its Web site.
Young pleaded guilty to a dozen charges in June, including obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, possession of a controlled substance, assault and wanton endangerment. In exchange, Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Crawford recommended a 22-year sentence with eligibility for parole after 122 months.
Young will be eligible for parole after 10 years and two months. Young apologized to family members of the victims as she was being led out of the courtroom to begin serving her prison sentence.
At the start of Thursday's hearing, Young told Bates she wanted to make a statement.
Young told the families that if she was in their shoes she didn't know if she would be able to forgive either. Young said she was "not the monster the media made her out to be" and that she was a divorced mother of three who took a job driving a school bus because she loved working with children. She said she was two weeks pregnant at the time of the wreck.
Video from the inside of the crashed bus was played during the hearing, leaving many in the courtroom in tears.
"The day of the accident ... was the worst day of my life," said Steve Shively, father of 12-year-old Cody Shively who was severely injured in the crash. "We didn't know if he would live. All you could do is sit and cry."
Cody's mother, Tammy Shively, was rushed out of the courtroom crying after she read a statement in which she called Young a "low life" for operating a school bus while taking drugs.
Earl Hampton, a minister who has been visiting Young since her arrest, said Young was his children's bus driver for 2½ years.
"I've had the opportunity to pray with her for the families who have suffered tremendous hurt," Hampton said.
Young crashed the bus carrying Grant County middle school students into a pole on January 17. Two of the injured students had lengthy stays in the hospital.
After the crash, police found more than 40 bottles of prescription medication in Young's apartment. A urine test showed that she had drugs including cocaine, marijuana and a prescription painkiller in her system at the time of the crash.
Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)