The sister of one of the three young men killed in a drinking-and-driving crash on South Whidbey last year wants the 18-year-old driver to give impact presentations aimed at preventing more victims in the future.
Brandi Porter started an online petition requesting that Kaylea Souza, the driver in the fatal accident, be required to tell her story to several groups of her peers after getting out of prison. Porter is traveling from her home in California to present the petition to the judge at the sentencing hearing Friday, March 30, in Island County Superior Court.
Porter urges concerned folks to sign the Mack Porter Petition Against Drunk Driving online at www.ipetitions.com/petition/the-mack-porter-petition-against-drunk-driving. More than 100 people have signed on so far, she said.
Porter’s brother, Charles “Mack” Porter III, was just 19 years old when he was killed in the Nov. 12, 2011 crash on Wilkinson Road. The other victims were 22-year-old Robert Knight and 20-year-old Marcel “Mick” Poynter.
Souza pleaded guilty last week to three counts of vehicular homicide. She has admitted that she was driving while intoxicated from drinking malt liquor when she lost control and smashed her car into a tree. Passersby pulled her from the burning car, but the three passengers perished.
Under a plea bargain, the prosecution and defense will recommend that the judge sentence Souza to four and a half years in prison, which is near the standard sentencing range for the most-serious, DUI-related prong of the charges.
Porter said she and other family members don’t feel the proposed sentence is nearly enough. But she believes some good can come out of the tragedy if Souza talks about it to groups of people her own age. The message would resonate more loudly with young drivers, she said, if it’s told by someone who has experience firsthand — and even caused — a tragedy by mixing drinking with driving.
“Why not pay your respects by helping other people and preventing something like this happening again?” she said. “I think she owes it to those boys and to us.”
Porter said speaking to groups may also help Souza come to terms with what she’s done.
“Hopefully by doing this she will have more understanding that this is way bigger than her,” she said.