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Outrage is the immediate reaction for many to the four-year prison sentence handed down to a white woman accused of killing four Black mothers in a DUI car crash.

In April of 2018, cousins Roslyn Felton (29), Sha’Keila Smith, Kambrea Smith (both 26) and Tierra Chambers (25) were leaving the Breeze Bar just outside of Orlando, Florida after what family members call a rare night out for the mothers of a combined eight children.

After making a left turn onto State Road 50 in Mascotte, Florida, Finley t-boned the cousins’ vehicle (a white Chevy Malibu truck) a little after 2 a.m. Police report that Finley was driving 59 mph, 24 mph over the limit at the point of collision. Also, a blood-alcohol content test administered five hours after the incident determined that Finley’s driving was impaired with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent, the legal limit.

At the onset of the proceedings, prosecutors cited issues with the evidence in the case. State Attorney Chris Small highlighted minor problems with video and “black box” data from the vehicles with conclusions drawn from an accident reconstruction report calling Finley’s impairment into question.

Defense attorney questions alcohol test in deadly DUI crash

Additionally, Finley’s attorney raised doubt and filed a motion challenging the blood-alcohol level test saying the results were “based on a lack of scientific reliability”.

Given these inconsistencies, the defense team for Finley entered a plea deal. According to the terms of the agreement, Finley’s license would be revoked for three years, the prosecutor would drop the four DUI counts and reduce the charges to vehicular homicide.  She’d also have to pay $200,000 in restitution to the families. 

The families of the victims contend they did not have a say in the plea deal and urged Circuit Court Judge Larry Metz to reconsider the agreement. What she’s pleading out to is an absolute joke,” James Thomas, one of the victims’ father, said.

Despite the pleas, Metz accepted the deal because discrepancies with the evidence would pose legal challenges if taken to trial. He felt it was the only way to ensure Finley received some jail time out of the maximum, possible sentence of 37 years.

Finley expressed remorse at the conclusion of the DUI hearings. “I’m so sorry, and I know saying I’m sorry doesn’t bring these girls back, but there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about them,” she said. “I know they don’t want to hear it, but I just want to say I’m sorry.”

The families of the victims were not receptive to the convicted woman’s apologies. They also believe that race played a role in the decision and had Finley been Black and accused of killing four white women, the outcome would’ve been different.

“A year for a life,” fumed Natalya Davis, a cousin of Roslyn Felton, one of the mothers who died in the crash. “If that’s the value of a Black life today, then I don’t understand where the world is going.”

Tanesha Peeples is driven by one question in her work--"If not me then who?" As a strategist and injustice interrupter, Tanesha merges the worlds of communications and grassroots activism to push for radical...

3 replies on “White woman faces 4 years for killing 4 Black mothers in DUI crash”

  1. Plantiff attorney could have put up a better defense than that, bs, working with the Defense. Vacate that sentence, ineffective assistant for sure.

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