A Louisiana woman was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Nov. 15, after killing a father of seven in a fatal drunken driving crash last year, according to reports.
Olivia Matte, 28, pleaded guilty. It was the third DUI incident for the woman in nine months, reported the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
James Blackmond, 37, died when the woman’s car rear-ended his truck on Lousiana’s Lake Pontchartrain Causeway on March 23, 2017, the report said. In the crash, the guard rail smashed through the rear window and killed Blackmond, and his passenger, Kelly Johnson, was hurt. Matte wasn’t injured in the accident.
Matte’s blood alcohol content was 0.216, which is about three times the legal limit of 0.08, WWL-TV reported.
For a slew of charges, Matte faced anywhere from five to 30 years behind bars.
— NOLA.com (@NOLAnews) November 16, 2018
Family Speaks Out
Blackmond’s family asked for a lengthy sentence. “What sentence could equal the pain and suffering that Olivia Matte has caused my family?” said Queenita Blackmond, who is Blackmond’s. Blackmond’s daughter said she wants to become an attorney to “put away people like you.”
“Olivia Matte didn’t just kill my husband; she killed me, also,” Queenita Blackmond said.
Matte’s family said she has been remorseful and wanted to right the wrong. “I am sorry and I’ve always been sorry. I wanted it to have been me gone, not him,” she said. “Yes, I made a mistake. Yes, I deserve punishment,” she said. “I do not deny these things. I own them, and I mourn for the life I lost, both mine and his,” Matte continued, according to the Times-Picayune.
The woman’s father also told Blackmond’s family that she is a “good person” who made a “terrible mistake,” but he added she’s “going to pay for her crime.”
“I hope you have it in your hearts to forgive us, to forgive her. I hope you can heal over time. I can’t imagine what you’ve gone through,” he added.
Blackmond’s family was looking for 25 to 30 years in prison in the sentencing phase of the trial, the Times-Picayune reported.
“I can live with it,” Queenita Blackmond said of the 20-year prison term. “It will never be the amount of time that I have to do.”
Instead of celebrating their wedding anniversary on March 25, she said, “I was identifying the body of my husband, or what was left of him.”
A nephew of Blackmond noted that she had been arrested for DUIs within the span of a year. “You chose to drive your vehicle intoxicated … I’m sure more than three times and turned that vehicle into a weapon,” Je’Vaughn Osgood said to Matte. He called her a “habitual offender caught red-handed.”
Queenita Blackmond and several other family members later said they’ve forgiven Matte.
Samira Osgood, a niece of Blackmond, thanked the Matte family for their remorse. Osgood gave the woman a hug and passed it along to her parents, the paper reported.
“There is no hate,” Samira Osgood said. “Both of the families are having their lives stripped away from us. We’re sharing the same pain in different ways.”