Driver in mother and son hit-and-run gets 18 yrs

Driver in mother and son hit-and-run gets 18 yrs

Driver in mother and son hit-and-run gets 18 yrs

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by Cornelius Swart, KGW.com Staff

kgw.com

Posted on November 18, 2013 at 2:36 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 18 at 2:38 PM

PORTLAND – A St. Helens man was sentenced to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to a hit-and-run that killed a Southeast Portland mother and son.

Daniel Troy Johnson, 30, changed his plea guilty of all charges, including manslaughter, during his trial Thursday, according to the district attorney's office said.

Background: Hit-and-run took woman's family

Hazel Knepper, 90, and her son Paul Knepper, 55, died on March 9 when Johnson’s Cadillac SUV ran a stop sign at Southeast 28th Place and Gladstone Street and slammed into their Toyota Corolla.

Three people fled on foot, a fourth person stayed behind. Johnson was later identified as the driver.

According to Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Chuck Sparks, a passenger in the car  said that Johnson was drinking in the run up to the accident.

During the trial, a parade of 20 witnesses lined up to testify against Johnson. About a dozen had spoken when the defense changed its plea.

A blood test indicated that one hour and 44 minutes after the accident Johnson had a blood alcohol content of 0.16. The state charges DUII at 0.08 BAC.

It was his third DUII, Multnomah County officials said. 

Johnson will serve 18 years in prison with no chance of parole. The agreement with the prosecution stipulated that Johnson cannot appeal his case in the future. Johnson will also be under three years of supervision after his release and will lose his driver's license permanently. 

"The victim's family was happy with the sentence," Sparks said Thursday. "It was an appropriate resolution."

Hazel Knepper was a nurse well into her 80s.  She lived with her son.

The accident devastated Knepper’s small family. Hazel's daughter, Ellie Hawkins, told KGW that Hazel and Paul were all that she had left in her immediate family following her other brother’s cancer death just three weeks before the accident.

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