Santa Rosa teen gets 4 years in fatal crash
A Santa Rosa teenager who killed her best friend in a crash that happened during the second of two speeding episodes over a two-month span was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison.
Judge Patrick Broderick accused Rebecca Iris Guillory, 19, of “tenacious stubbornness” in handing down the mid-range punishment in the Jan. 1 crash that killed Michajla Bailey Kostecka, 18, also of Santa Rosa.
Kostecka’s mother, Wanda Bailey, said during an emotional court hearing she could never forgive her daughter’s friend for the recklessness that claimed the former Elsie Allen High School student.
“Honestly, I hate her,” a tearful Bailey told Broderick before an audience packed with friends and family members. “I’ve never hated someone so much as I hate her.”
The grief-stricken woman recounted her horror at receiving word her daughter died in the crash on twisting Mountain Hawk Drive in Rincon Valley.
It happened as Guillory sped more than 60 miles per hour in a 25 mph zone.
She lost control and hit a tree that prosecutor Matt Hubley said sliced through her Chevrolet Cavalier “like butter,” instantly killing Kostecka.
“Seeing the sheriff’s officer and the chaplain standing on my porch is a sight I will never forget,” Bailey said.“He kept telling me, ‘I’m sorry ma’am, but your daughter will not be coming home.’?”
Guillory had been drinking but was not considered impaired. She responded to the mother with words of remorse, saying even a life prison term would not make up for killing her friend.
“I hate myself for it,” she said, her voice shaking. “And I want to die.”
Her lawyer, Steve Gallenson, said Guillory “cared deeply” for Kostecka.
“This was certainly nothing Rebecca did intentionally,” he told the judge.
“I think the term accident is appropriate.”
She pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and driving on a suspended license.
The crash followed an Oct. 31 driving incident in the East Bay in which Guillory was cited for driving 92 mph on the freeway.
In that case, Guillory had been drinking but was not legally drunk. Her license was suspended because she was under 21.
CHP officers arrested her after she got back into her car following a field sobriety test and refused to get out.
Broderick cited her behavior as well as statements she made to officers that she would never stop drinking “a beer” before driving a car. He also was troubled by her remark that she had a medical marijuana card and could not be prevented from smoking pot before driving.
The judge said she showed a “pattern of resistance” that endangered the public.
“It’s your tenacious stubborn resistance ... to reflecting and adjusting,” he said near the end of the more than two-hour hearing.
Guillory could have received a maximum of six years in prison. Kostecka’s father, Tom Kostecka, said outside court that the punishment was too light.
“I don’t feel it is worthy,” he said. “My daughter is gone.”
You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 707-568-5312 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @ppayne.