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SSU student begins jail time for crosswalk death

  • Kaitlyn Dunaway stands in Sonoma County Superior Court with her attorney, , where Judge Brad DeMeo in November ordered her to serve five days in county jail and 115 days on electronic home confinement after she pleaded no contest to killing a Rohnert Park toddler in a crosswalk while texting. (BETH SCHLANKER/The Press Democrat)

Kaitlyn Dunaway has begun serving her five-day jail sentence for the fatal crash that killed 2-year-old Calli Murray.

The Sonoma State University student was texting behind the wheel on Dec. 1, 2010 when she struck and killed the child and injured her mother Ling Murray in a Rohnert Park crosswalk.

Dunaway, 19, was booked into Sonoma County Jail late Tuesday and was expected to be released Saturday with good behavior credits, jail staff said.

Dunaway, who pleaded no contest to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, was also ordered by Judge Bradford DeMeo on Nov. 16 to serve 115 days on electronic home confinement, give up her driver's license for one year and perform 200 hours of community service.

The child's parents, Ling and Jeff Murray, in a Dec. 1 filing against Rohnert Park accused the city of allowing dangerous conditions that contributed to the crash.

A court clerk responded Dec. 7 with a letter telling the Murrays they must retain a lawyer and inform the court who will represent them within 30 days. The city must file a written response before April 5, the first hearing on the matter.

Jeff Murray said Wednesday they had retained an attorney and were moving forward with the claim.

“The point is to make it safer,” he said.

He said he wasn't prepared to comment on whether he and his wife intend to file suit against Dunaway.

After the crash, Rohnert Park officials ordered a crosswalk study and have subsequently added crosswalks and warning features to existing crosswalks, including a pedestrian sign at the Snyder Lane crosswalk where the accident occurred.

Ling Murray, who suffered major injuries, continues to attend physical therapy sessions three days a week to help regain function of her injured arms and legs, her husband said.

“She's getting a little bit better, but it's a long hard road,” Murray said, noting that Calli would have turned 4 on Christmas Day.

“This month is an exceptional step backward emotionally,” he said. “But we have to keep trying.”

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