A 46-year-old Paso Robles woman was sentenced to seven years and eight months in state prison Tuesday for her conviction on charges relating to a drunk driving crash that killed a 20-year-old Paso Robles man and injured his friend more than a year ago.
Emotional statements were read in the San Luis Obispo Superior Court by several family members of Jacob Keller, who died, and Nolan Martinez, who was badly injured, after Jennifer Anne Chill collided with their vehicle on Oct. 3, 2010, on Serenade Drive in Paso Robles.
Martinez, 20, was severely injured in the crash, saying he has lingering pain from the wreck, including short-term memory loss that has affected his ability to focus.
Chill had a blood-alcohol level of 0.19 percent when the incident occurred, according to prosecutors.
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She slammed into the oncoming truck driven by Keller, who was ejected from the vehicle, as she returned home after visiting a friend, according to evidence presented at the trial. Martinez was a passenger in the truck.
Keller’s father, Scott Keller, read a statement in Judge Barry LaBarbera’s court saying that he was in San Diego with his wife, Peggy Keller, when they learned the news of Jacob’s death.
“At first we didn’t believe it,” Keller said. “We later confirmed it was true and felt helpless. The 300-mile drive back home was very quiet.”
Scott Keller said he was angry after people in Paso Robles began posting photos on Facebook of Chill with a drink in hand at bars and at the Mid-State Fair after posting bail amid court proceedings.
But he learned to have pity for Chill, saying he recognized her inability to lead a constructive life and deal with the disease of alcoholism.
Peggy Keller told Chill in court that she hoped she would learn from the tragedy and make “the most of the rest of your life, and be the best person you can be.”
Many family members who read statements criticized Chill for refusing to accept fault when interviewed by police and probation officers after the wreck.
Anna Marie Hernandez and Jim Martinez — Nolan Martinez’s parents — described the pain and hardship of helping their son recover from his injuries and cope with the loss of Keller, a close family friend.
Nolan Martinez was silent and dropped his head for several seconds while remembering Keller. They were heading to a Mexican restaurant on the night of the crash, he said.
Chill was tearful as family members read statements.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Chill shuffled out of the courtroom in shackles, escorted by a bailiff.