JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The woman responsible for bumping a mother of two off the Buckman Bridge, killing her, will spend the next 30 years in prison serving concurrent sentences on two counts.
Sasha Pringle was found guilty of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crash. She was accused of bumping Luma Kajy's car off the Buckman Bridge last February.
Judge Linda McCallum sentenced her to 15 years and 30 years on the counts, with credit for time served. The sentences will run concurrently and she also was ordered to pay court costs.
There is no way someone could not know a car was tumbling into the Buckman, said McCalllum. "There are times when sorry is not enough...and this is one of those times."
Pringle said she would like to use her mistake to educate others and apologized during her sentencing today.
"I am so, so very sorry about what happened to your wife, Luma," said Sasha Pringle. "I don't believe I was the cause of this accident but if I was...I am sorry."
"I want you and your family to know how much I have prayed and still do through all of this. I pray God will be with you and your family."
But the state attorney said Pringle lacked remorse.
"We think the defendant's...lack of regret...is relevant to the sentencing today. This defendant does not deserve the court's mercy," said Mark Borello, who asked for the maximum of 45 years.
"She took a valuable and productive member (of society) from us," he said
Friends and family members of Kajy recalled her impact on their lives in a Duval County courtroom during her testimony.
"She blessed me with two beautiful boys," testified her husband, Paul. "She had a smile that would light up the room. The most caring person I have ever met. A devout Catholic who went to church three times a week."
Prosecutors said Pringle was not drunk, but under the influence of prescription drugs and marijuana.
Pringle seemed to acknowledge she was driving under the influence the day of the crash. On the stand, she offered to speak to groups about the dangers of impaired driving, even asking the Kajy's to help her.
"I would like to think that you or someone who was close to Luma may feel it in their hearts to speak out with me," said Pringle.
Afterwards Kajy's family said the apology and offer were not genuine.
"She said what she had to say and did what she had to do.I mean, where was that before all this?" said Paul Kajy.
Pringle's attorney Fred Gazaleh said 10 letters have been put on file in her defense and that her life should be sentenced, not one day of her life.
Pringle was oblivious to her surroundings as she left the scene, he said. "She did an incredibly stupid, incredibly negligent (thing)...nothing in her past says she need to be locked away...she needs to be sentenced as the person she has been..."
Gazaleh added that Pringle had no prior felony record and that she is taking clases to become a better parent to her stepchildren.
"Based on what we know of Ms. Pringle, we know she will never be in this position again...," he said. The defense asked for four years with probation.
Kajy's husband had asked the court for Pringle to serve the maximum in prison. He also told the court he moved back to his parents' house in Detroit so that his kids wouldn't have to come back to an empty home after school.
On the stand, Paul Kajy said, "This still feels like a bad dream. I often reach out for her and wake up in the middle of the night looking for her. Then, I cry myself back to sleep."
Kajy said 9-year old Luke and 10-year old Benjamin miss their mother everyday. "The most haunting is Benjamin recently telling me, 'I miss mommy so much. I just wish I knew when God will take me, so I could see mommy again.'"
Sasha Pringle's husband maintains his wife's innocence. He calls the sentence "a travesty" and said there will be an appeal.
First Coast News