“She loved people,” her mother, Gail Pruden, said. “She was a little shy, and she never raised her voice. Even when she was mad she was so gentle.”
Reed was killed in a car accident on May 10, 2008, when another driver crossed into her lane and struck the car she was driving. That driver, Monica Espey, was intoxicated at the time of the accident and was charged in her death.
On Thursday, Espey pleaded guilty to the charge of vehicular homicide and Walker County Circuit Judge Doug Farris sentenced her to the maximum allowed under that plea, five years. He also accessed a fine of $1,000, ordered her to pay court costs and to pay $50 to the Criminal Victims Compensation Fund.
Reed’s family was in the courtroom for the plea and sentencing and expressed some disappointment at the plea charge.
“I’m glad she got the maximum, which still isn’t enough,” Brian Pruden, the victim’s brother, said. “But it does bring some closure, and she’ll have five years to sit in jail and think about what she did.”
The case was presented to a grand jury in Walker County and they decided on the charge, according to the District Attorney’s office.
“The grand jury indicted her on the vehicular homicide charge,” Chris Sherer, the assistant District Attorney handling the plea, said.
Espey asked not to be immediately remanded to custody today but instead to be allowed to turn herself in two weeks from now in order to arrange custody for her minor son.
Farris granted an order to allow Espey to turn herself in on June 18.
The arrangement didn’t sit well with the family of the victim. “We didn’t get two weeks to say goodbye to Kim,” Gail Pruden said. “And now I have to go to the graveyard to visit my baby.”
Regardless, the Pruden family said they were glad to have some sense of justice and begin to heal a little of the hurt.