Man takes plea deal in 2014 collision that killed passenger

  • Sunday, May 22, 2016 9:07pm
  • News

JUNEAU — A 20-year-old man will be sentenced in a 2014 collision that killed an 18-year-old passenger.

William Buchkoski pleaded guilty to two counts of felony assault ahead of a Monday trial.

Investigators say Buchkoski, who was 18 years old at the time, was driving with two passengers when he failed to yield.

A semi T-boned the vehicle that he was driving.

The crash killed Jessica Louise Billy. Her boyfriend and Buchkoski’s stepbrother, Shadd M. Rudick, was seriously injured and has since recovered.

Buchkoski’s original charges were manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and two felony assault counts. He faces possible time behind bars, probation and community service. He will be assessed for substance abuse because of THC, the mood-altering chemical in marijuana, found in his system three hours after the crash. Kemp said Alaska law is unclear on when a driver is considered impaired by THC, though the level is at 5 nanograms in Washington.

A toxicology report shows Buchkoski had 1.7 nanograms of THC in his system.

Assistant District Attorney Angie Kemp said a lengthy probation and no-driving regulation are top priorities for the state and Billy’s family at sentencing.

“We want to resolve the case and ensure the victims of the case get some level of justice versus running the risk they get none after a trial in the event that there’s an acquittal,” Kemp said.

A pre-sentence report will be written before September.

Attorneys say family and friends of Buchkoski as well as Billy are expected to speak at the sentencing.

Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com

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