Casper Woman Pleads Guilty to Felony DUI With Serious Injury
A Casper woman on Tuesday entered a guilty plea to a single felony charge brought against her following an April DUI crash that resulted in serious injury to others.
Kelly Renee Labounta, 23, pleaded guilty to driving while under the influence resulting in a crash with a serious bodily injury to another person. The charge is punishable by a fine of $2,000-$5,000 and up to 10 years in prison.
In exchange for the guilty plea, Assistant District Attorney Dan Itzen agreed to recommend that Labounta receive a suspended four- to six-year prison sentence, and instead serve three years of supervised probation. Labounta would also have to complete the felony program at the Casper Re-Entry Center as well as the Intensive Supervision Program through the Wyoming Department of Corrections.
A fine of $2,000 will be suspended as well.
Charging papers say the crash occurred after 9 p.m. on April 8 near the intersection of First and Lincoln Streets.
Witnesses told police that Labounta had been driving a black 2002 Saturn and was westbound First Street. She turned onto Lincoln Street in front of a 1980 Chevrolet pickup truck, causing the pickup to hit her vehicle on the passenger side.
Labounta was initially given a ticket, but Itzen asked a detective to void the ticket so that the case could be more thoroughly investigated.
Labounta's passenger, Donnovon Pritchard, was hospitalized following the crash and had to be intubated. Due to his condition, Pritchard was unable to speak with a detective for over a week following the crash.
Pritchard's injuries included a broken jaw, extensive soft tissue and nerve damage to his right hand and blunt force trauma to the entire right side of his body, according to an affidavit.
Pritchard eventually told a detective that Labounta had been drinking at a bar in Evansville and had come to pick him up so that the pair could go back to her house and drink. The crash occurred as Labounta drove with Pritchard to her home.
Labounta had also been hospitalized following the crash. A blood sample later showed that at the time of the crash, Labounta's blood-alcohol concentration was 0.23 -- nearly three times the legal limit to drive. The blood sample was taken nearly two hours after the crash occurred.
The passenger in the Chevrolet pickup truck was also injured in the crash. She told the detective that she had been looking down at her cell phone and hit her head on the dashboard, breaking several of her teeth. Her injuries included a hurt knee and hurt wrist, whiplash and a back problem.
It was raining, and the roadway was wet at the time of the crash.
Labounta remained in custody at the time of Tuesday's arraignment hearing. District Court Judge Thomas Sullins, in reviewing bond information, noted that Labounta had initially been released on a surety bond following her arrest, but was taken back into custody after violating a bond condition.
Sullins set bond at $7,500 cash or surety. Labounta remained in custody at the time of Tuesday's hearing.