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

May 21, 2011 at 9:00 AM

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Seattle woman sentenced for tow truck driver's death

Posted by John de Leon

A Seattle woman who struck and killed a tow-truck driver on Interstate 5 in September was sentenced Friday to three years and five months in prison.

Shavelle Lewis, 21, had pleaded guilty in April to vehicular homicide and hit-and-run driving.

Lewis was driving with a suspended license when she struck William Padilla, 51, of Burien, at 1:26 a.m. on Sept. 24 as he was kneeling next to a disabled vehicle on the entrance ramp from Spokane Street to southbound I-5. After hitting Padilla, Lewis did a U-turn and drove away, charging papers said.

Troopers found Lewis and her 31-year-old passenger nearby.

Troopers said that Lewis smelled of alcohol and had watery, bloodshot eyes. Lewis told investigators that she had a glass of wine that night.

Lewis has previous convictions for prostitution, hit-and-run driving and drug crimes, and has been sought on 14 arrest warrants since 2008. Two days before the collision she was arrested on warrants, and was released from custody the day before the crash.

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