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Man gets five years in prison --- maximum --- for DUI fatality
By ERICA HALL
A man arrested after a fatal drunk driving collision in Federal Way last year has been sentenced to more than five years in prison.
King County Superior Court Judge Brian Gain gave Neftali Ramirez, 25, the maximum sentence possible under state sentencing guidelines.
Sixty-five months, even with the two-year enhancement, is not appropriate for the taking of a human life, Gain said during the sentencing hearing last Thursday. The low end is not appropriate and the high end is not sufficient.
In the early afternoon Aug. 1, Jean McFerran was driving home from visiting her daughters family on South Dash Point Road in Federal Way. She was near the intersection of South Dash Point Road and Fourth Avenue South when she was hit head-on by a Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck that crossed the center line at a high rate of speed, according to police.
McFerran died at the scene. She was 82.
The uninjured driver of the pick-up, identified as Ramirez at the scene, had a blood-alcohol content of .21, nearly three times the legal limit.
Ramirez last month entered an Alford plea in which he maintained his innocence but pleaded guilty because a jury would most likely find him guilty based on the evidence. He has a history of alcohol-related crimes in California, including a drunk driving-related assault, a DUI and public drunkenness.
Wayne Warner, McFerrans son-in-law, testified in court how much his family has changed since the collision.
I know Neftali has thought about how this has affected his life. I just hope he thinks about how this affects our life. A piece of all of us is gone, he said, his voice cracking. I hope this young man will never get in a car when hes been drinking.
Bill McFerran, McFerrans son, also spoke. Im sure Mr. Ramirez is very sorry for the tragedy he caused our family, he said. But Mr. Ramirez will get to spend time with his family.
Ramirezs uncle, Oscar Medina, offered condolences to McFerrans family. Nothing I say will make less the pain theyre feeling, he said in Spanish, with help from a translator. This is something for which he started paying from the time the accident occurred, and it will follow him the rest of his life.
Ramirezs attorney, Jesse Cantor, asked the judge for a sentence at the low end of the range with associated alcohol treatment after Ramirezs release. All of his offenses are alcohol-related, Cantor said. Hes a genuinely good individual. When he makes a bad decision to drink, he gets in trouble.
He wants to do what he can to prevent himself from getting in trouble in the future, Cantor added. Hell do everything he can to prevent this from ever happening again.
Ramirez expressed his condolences to McFerrans family and said hell use the tragic experience to get help for his alcohol problem. This is not something I foresaw in my life, he said. I never meant to cause pain and suffering.