D.C. woman sentenced to seven years in prison for fatal April crash

A District woman who had been drinking malt liquor and smoking crack cocaine was sentenced to seven years in prison Friday in connection with an April car accident that killed a Washington pedestrian.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Herbert B. Dixon Jr. sentenced Maria N. Werts, 49, in the April 28 fatal accident that killed Emmajean Gainey, 58, as Gainey was walking on the sidewalk adjacent to the southbound lane of South Capitol Street.

In May, Werts pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence. The sentence was approved by Dixon as part of Werts’s plea.

If Werts had gone to trial and been convicted, she could have been sentenced to more than 30 years.

Prosecutor Edward O’Connell argued that Werts was intoxicated about 2:45 p.m. when she climbed behind the wheel of her 2010 Toyota Yaris and ran a red light at South Capitol, and then made an illegal right turn on red when she lost control of her car and mounted the sidewalk. She struck Gainey, pinning her against a tree between the sidewalk and roadway, killing her instantly.

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.
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