Mother sentenced in accident that claimed daughter

EVERETT - A North Bend woman whose daughter died in a car accident after the woman tried to shoplift items from a grocery store in Woodinville will serve 21 months in prison, a Snohomish County Superior Court judge ruled last week.

Anita Durrett, 42, was sentenced Tuesday, May 14, by Judge Gerald Knight in Everett on one count of vehicular homicide. The charge stems from a June 9 chase following Durrett's attempt to shoplift about $266 worth of food and merchandise from the Albertson's grocery store on the Woodinville-Duvall Road.

Snohomish County prosecutors had asked for a two-year sentence for Durrett.

She had originally pleaded innocent to the charge of vehicular homicide, but in March she submitted an Alford plea, which recognizes that there is likely substantial evidence to find a person guilty of a charge.

According to police reports, Durrett's daughter, LaDawna, 9, died after the car they were riding in crashed into a tree near 75th Avenue Southeast in Snohomish County.

The accident occurred after Durrett was caught trying to shoplift items from the Albertson's store. A store manager and two other employees followed her into the parking lot, where they confronted her.

Durrett got in her station wagon and drove off, and the two employees gave chase. Police said the chase reached speeds of more than 90 mph before Durrett's car slammed into the tree. The two Albertson's employees said they didn't see the accident.

LaDawna Durrett had been wearing a seatbelt, but the force of the impact caused her to be partially thrown from the car, killing her instantly. Durrett was seriously injured in the accident and was transported to Harborview Medical Center.

Durrett is the second local woman in recent weeks to be convicted of vehicular homicide.

Debra Acey, 44, of Snoqualmie, was sentenced April 26 to nine years in prison on one count of vehicular homicide and one count of vehicular assault after the car she was driving, which was headed the wrong way on Interstate 90, crashed into another car containing two Central Washington University students.

The accident killed 21-year-old Erin Klotz, of Kennewick, and seriously injured her friend, Tracey Fischer, also 21, of Edmonds. It happened in the eastbound lanes of the interstate, near Exit 27.

Police said before Acey got behind the wheel, she had a blood-alcohol level of 0.3 and had taken medications that would have made her drowsy.

Durrett claims that the two Albertson's employees who chased her and the store manager contributed to her daughter's death. In a civil suit against the grocery-store chain filed in April in Snohomish County Superior Court, she states they caused her to drive away from the store and to exceed the speed limit.

According to the suit, the store manager told the other employees to follow Durrett. At one point, the two cars stopped at a stoplight, and one of the employees got out of the car and "accosted [Durrett] verbally and physically," the suit states.

The suit does not indicate the amount of damages Durrett seeks.

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