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Woman sentenced for drugged driving crash that injured 5

Becky Vargo • Feb 19, 2019 at 10:00 AM

A Muskegon woman was ordered Monday to serve 300 days in jail for a drugged driving crash in Coopersville last summer that injured her daughter and four people in another vehicle.

During the hearing in Ottawa County Circuit Court, Patrician Ann Murphy, 29, was given credit for 116 days already served in jail.

Prior to sentencing, Murphy read a long letter she had composed, in which she apologized to the family of the victims, her own family and the court.

“All of our lives have been rudely interrupted by my irresponsibility,” she said.

During a plea hearing Jan. 7, Murphy told Judge Karen Miedema that she had consumed marijuana and a methamphetamine prior to operating her vehicle on Randall Street in Coopersville on Aug. 11, 2018. Murphy crashed into another vehicle, causing serious injury to one of the occupants.

Murphy was driving west on Randall Street at about 3 p.m. that day when her car crossed the centerline, went off the road, came back into the eastbound lane and struck a Ford Flex head-on. Four of the six people inside the Ford Flex were injured, with 89-year-old Ellen Rozema being the most seriously injured.

Murphy also had her young daughter in the car and was driving on a suspended license at the time of the crash.

Ottawa County Prosecuting Attorney Ron Frantz said the crash victim suffered three spinal fractures and was airlifted from the scene for treatment at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids.

Murphy pleaded guilty to one count of driving under the influence causing serious injury, one count of driving on a suspended license causing serious injury, and one count of operating a motor vehicle in the presence of a controlled substance with a child under age 16 in the vehicle.

In exchange for the pleas, prosecutors dismissed one count of operating under the influence causing serious injury, one count of driving on a suspended license causing serious injury, and one count of having an open container.

“This is not the life I want,” Murphy said in court Monday, explaining that she had plans to move in with her grandmother when she got out of jail and completed rehabilitation.

Murphy told the judge she recently graduated from Ross Medical School and was planning to finish course work at Muskegon Community College in the criminal justice field.

In addition to the jail time, Murphy was ordered to pay $11,911 restitution and serve two years of probation once she is out of jail.

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