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Reversal denied in Oakmont manslaughter case

A judge ruled that Gayle Gray must serve her prison sentence for a 2016 fatal crash. (SONOMA COUNTY SHERIFF)

PAUL PAYNE,

An elderly Santa Rosa driver who ran over two Oakmont women in 2016, killing one of them, must serve out her more than seven-year prison term, a judge has ruled.

Gayle Gray, 79, was sentenced in the crash that killed Jackie Simon, 85, and seriously injured Josephine Ross, then 91. She pleaded no contest to driving under the influence of prescription drugs and alcohol when she ran into the women as they walked outside a shopping center in the retirement community.

Gray had previously been convicted of drunken driving in 1994 and 2003.

Last year, Gray’s lawyers sought to reverse her sentence, claiming a newly discovered brain disorder and not the drugs and alcohol caused the crash. They filed a writ in Sonoma County Superior Court, seeking to have Gray brought back from the state’s women’s prison in Chowchilla.

After hearing testimony last week, Judge Elliot Daum, on Friday denied the request, finding she lacked grounds to withdraw her plea and bring her case to a jury.

Simon’s daughter, Debra Friedman of Sonoma, said she was pleased with the outcome. Her family is locked in a continuing legal struggle to collect the balance of a civil judgment ordered against Gray.

“She ran over my mother and killed her and has not shown one single bit of remorse,” Friedman said.

You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 707-568-5312 or paul.payne@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @ppayne.