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Valley man sentenced in deadly crash

A Carnation man will serve just under two years of jail time for a car crash that killed a Klickitat County Deputy Sheriff in 2007.

Sean Kearney, 20, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide with disregard for the safety of others, on Friday, April 11, in Yakima County Superior Court. Judge Michael Schwab sentenced him to 20 months in prison.

Kearney was charged last October in connection with a July 18, 2007 crash that happened about 20 miles south of Toppenish, Wash. According to police reports, Kearney attempted to pass a semi-truck in a no-passing zone on Highway 97 when his Audi S4 smashed into a 1993 Nissan 200SX driven by Klickitat County Sgt. Peter Garland, 38. Garland later died of injuries sustained in the crash at Toppenish Community Hospital. He was married and had two foster children. Kearney and his two passengers, Nick Hinton, 20, and Zachary H. Mehrens, 17, both of Carnation, suffered minor injuries.

Kearney had no prior felonies or traffic offenses that could be counted against him in sentencing. Still, he received the maximum end of a 15 to 20 month range for the vehicular homicide charge.

“Vehicular homicide cases are tough,” said Bryant Skinner, a paralegal with the Yakima County Prosecutor’s Office. “The range that the legislature gives us does not really reflect the loss of a loved one.”

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