Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 13th, 2011 at 11:57 am
The Multnomah County District Attorney is set to formally accept a plea deal between the family of Angela Burke and Caleb Pruitt.
Late at night on December 15th, Pruitt drove his Subaru Impreza at a high rate of speed (according to Police) on SW Barbur Blvd and struck Burke as she walked her bike across the street. Burke, a 26-year old from Albany, New York who had just recently moved to Portland, died in the collision.
In the deal, which is expected to be announced tomorrow, Pruitt will plead guilty to Criminally Negligent Homicide, Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants, and three counts of Recklessly Endangering Another Person (for Burke and the two people that were passengers in his car). He will serve 60 months in prison, which could be reduced to 48 months on good behavior.
(Photo courtesy Athena Burke)
Pruitt, 28, was charged with Manslaughter, a Measure 11 crime that would have come with a mandatory 75 month sentence (with no eligibility for reduced time).
In exchange for dismissal of the Manslaughter charge, DA Chuck Sparks told BikePortland that Pruitt has agreed to help Burke’s family with their pending civil case by sharing information with their lawyers about where he served alcohol and how much he had to drink. In addition, Pruitt has agreed to pay for six members of Burke’s family to fly from New York to Portland so they can be present at the sentencing hearing on August 26th. Pruitt will pay for airfare, hotel, and rental cars.
“It’s not typical for a defendant to pay for victim’s costs in this situation,” says Sparks.
Pruitt has already written letters of apology to the Burke family.
Once he has served his time in prison, Pruitt must attend drug and alcohol treatment, participate in a victim’s panel, and his license will be revoked for eight years (from the time he is released). He will also pay a $250,000 fine, according to a KOIN-TV report. Pruitt will also get five years of probation, which will begin when he is sentenced in August.
Sparks says Pruitt will be taken into custody tomorrow and will remain in custody until his sentence begins.
While Sparks understands why some members of the Burke family would have liked to see an even stronger punishment, he says Pruitt, “Is taking substantial responsibility for what he did.”
— For more on the Angele Burke fatality, read our archives.