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The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.

February 21, 2011 at 8:01 AM

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29-month sentence for drunk driver who struck five pedestrians

Posted by John de Leon

Juanita Wright, the drunk driver who mowed down five pedestrians outside Seattle's Showbox SoDo in October, has been sentenced to 29 months in prison.

Wright, 43, pleaded guilty earlier this month to three counts of vehicular assault and one count of reckless driving in connection with the accident that sent four people to the hospital. One victim, a 28-year-old woman, suffered a brain injury that required doctors to remove a portion of her skull, according to charging paperwork.

The victims had just left the Showbox SoDo just before 11 p.m. Oct. 28 and were walking in an unmarked crosswalk n the 1700 block of First Avenue South when they were struck, according to police. Police said that Wright's pickup was "filled" with empty and partially consumed cans of high-alcohol-content beer after the crash. A six-pack of beer was found on the floorboard next to Wright's feet, charging papers said.

Wright's blood alcohol was measured at 0.29 percent, police said, well above the legal limit of 0.08 percent. The West Seattle woman is also known as Juanita Carpenter and Juanita Mars.

The sentence imposed Friday by King County Superior Court Judge Bruce Heller was at the high end of the sentencing range, according to the King County prosecutor's website.

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