Victim of Drunk Driving Accident Shares Trauma, Pain – Defendant Sentenced to 90 Days in Jail

By Maia Surendra

SANTA BARBARA, CA — The victim of a drunk driving accident shared how the incident altered the course of her and her family’s life—from finances to trauma—in her impact statement here in Santa Barbara County Superior Court late last week.

The defendant, Kathleen Ellen Sullivan, was charged with driving under the influence causing injury and driving with a blood alcohol content greater than a .08 causing injury, both felonies. She was also charged with driving with a blood alcohol content of over 0.15, an enhancement.

The complaint was originally filed on Oct. 8, 2020.

At the sentencing hearing, the victim of the accident read an impact statement, and shared that her entire family, which includes her two children aged four and six, was in the car at the time of the accident.

She said that her children now have trouble sleeping due to the trauma of the accident, and that she is now fearful of driving and particularly of stop lights. The victim shared that she was in a lot of pain after the accident and had to go on medication.

The victim also shared that the family was in the process of buying a house at the time of the accident, and that the accident caused financial issues for them that interfered with the purchase of the house. She asked that the court consider financial losses that her family suffered and reimbursement for these.

Sullivan is represented by private defense attorney Bill Makler, who shared that she has been in rehab and “feels bad about the accident and her alcohol abuse,” and that she has been practicing nursing so she can “work on herself.”

A plea was entered into the court after the impact statement was read, by Deputy District Attorney Michelle Mossembekker.

Judge Pauline Maxwell sentenced Sullivan to probation for three years if she spends 90 days in Santa Barbara County Jail. She is not permitted to consume alcohol, and must pay the fines she owes by Oct. 5.

About The Author

Maia Surendra is a fourth year student at UC Santa Barbara who is majoring in Sociology and minoring in History. She is originally from Westchester County, NY, and would love to do something related to the law after graduation.

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