CHICO, Calif. - A Chico woman was sentenced to over six years in prison after recently being convicted of vehicular manslaughter for a deadly 2019 East Avenue crash.
On Thursday, June 25, Amery May Sweany faced the family of Virgil Santos, the man she killed on April 13 of last year.
District Attorney Mike Ramsey said the wife and daughter of Santos addressed the judge, explaining how devastating the death was to them and asking the maximum punishment be given to 24-year-old Sweany.
During the family's plea, Ramsey says they explained the mother had to move out of the family home to a more affordable apartment. The daughter noted when she gets married this fall, her father will not be there to walk her down the aisle because of Sweany's actions.
Sweany was sentenced by Judge Michael Deems to the maximum sentence of six years and eight months, according to Ramsey.
Back in April 2019, Ramsey says Sweany drove down East Avenue at speeds over 70 miles-per-hour, weaving in and out of traffic, before she ran the Marigold Avenue red light and hit Santos's car.
64-year-old Santos died at Chico's Enloe Hospital, while his wife sustained major injuries and underwent multiple surgeries in the months that followed the crash.
Ramsey says Sweany plead to one count of resisting an officer and one count of battery upon an officer after she assaulted two correctional officers at the Butte County Jail while she was in custody.
Two times Sweany's case was delayed after her attorney tried to have her declared mentally incompetent to stand trial and then attempted to place her into a mental health diversion program. Both times, Ramsey says, the attempts were turned down by health officials.
Once she was finally set for jury trial, Sweany changed her plea to no contest.
"Sweany’s actions were particularly egregious because although not under the influence, she nevertheless had detectable amounts of controlled substances in her system [and] she drove at a high rate of speed down a main street in Chico," said Ramsey in a press release. "She showed no concern for the safety of those around her, causing death and serious injury."