Linda Woodman sentenced to 20 years in deadly crash

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Linda Woodman will serve 20 years in prison after she was found guilty on Friday of manslaughter and aggravated assault in the deadly 2012 crash that happened after she had been discharged from the hospital. It took the jury less than an hour to convict her, and about three hours Monday for the group to decide on a punishment.

After deliberating, jurors sentenced her to 20 years in prison for manslaughter and 13 years for aggravated assault. The sentences will be served at the same time. The 20-year sentence was the maximum punishment. She will also have to pay a $20,000 fine.

Prosecutors say that Woodman drove high on painkillers in February 2012 and crashed into a man and woman walking on the sidewalk along Guadalupe Street. Dik Van Meerten, 61, died there, and Sarah Lee Parker, 21, sustained serious injuries.

While leaving the courtroom, Sylvia Van Meerten, Dik Van Meerten’s daughter spoke briefly to media after the sentencing.

“I appreciate that the jury from Austin is being so careful of their community. I know the Woodman family must be going through a lot of pain and trauma and I’m glad to have come to a community where they care about the safety of our streets,” she said.

Steven Brand, one of Woodman’s defense attorneys said, “Obviously this is the best system we have.  We respect the jury’s verdict.  I certainly thought it was disproportionate to other cases coming out of Travis County.”

Hours before the crash, Woodman had been released from the hospital after receiving treatment for a seizure. Prosecutors said her doctor told her not to drive for six months.

Defense attorneys for Woodman, 61, wrapped up their case early Friday morning after prosecutors finished bringing forward witnesses Thursday. She’s accused of causing a Guadalupe Street crash in February 2012 that killed a man and critically injuring a woman.

During closing arguments, prosecutors told jurors whether or not Woodman was intoxicated — referring to drugs given to Woodman for treatment of a seizure in the hours leading up to the crash — they allege Woodman made a conscious decision to drive.

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