Cerrissa Christensen’s Sentencing Hearing Set for April 25

By Garth O'Brien | April 23, 2008 
Filed Under DUI News

Seattle, Washington. On October 16, 2007, Cerrissa Christensen, 27, was driving the wrong way on Interstate 5 with a blood alcohol content level of 0.25. The DUI legal limit in Washington is 0.08. Unfortunately, Cerrissa was not pulled over in time by the police. Eric Hillstrom’s vehicle brought Cerrissa to a stop when Cerrissa slammed into his vehicle. Eric received serious injuries resulting in bone breaks and brain trauma; he was lucky. Eric’s girlfriend and passenger, Bawny McQuistin, 18, was not so fortunate. She died that night in the twisted metal wreck on I-5.

In March 2008, Cerrissa entered a plea of guilty to vehicular homicide and her sentencing date is set for April 25th. Cerrissa had prior convictions for DUI, reckless driving and hit and run. Those past offenses increases the potential jail time she faces on April 25. Cerrissa is looking at facing 6 1/2 years in prison. Without her past criminal history her sentencing range would be 3 1/2 years to 4 1/2 years.

Is that all Bawny McQuistin’s life is worth? Only 3 1/2 years for a first time offender, and only 6 1/2 years for a drunk driver with a past criminal history? Cerrissa will be released from prison with good behavior, so most likely she will be released before she turns 32. When she is released she can still live a nice long life. Sure she might have nightmares, and might feel remorseful. Cerrissa might struggle with sobriety and worse yet she might get back on I-5 sauced out of her mind and kill again.

Bawny, on the other hand, will not be attending college. She will not get married, and raise a family. She will not grow old with a husband and enjoy the roller coaster ride of life. Bawny is dead at 18, and according to our state government she is only worth 3 1/2 years if you do not have a prior conviction and 6 1/2 years if you were caught drinking and driving previously.

I argue for an alcohol detecting device to be installed in every vehicle operated in the United States. People have sent emails declaring I am a “communist” for this idea. Although, we do not have a right to drive people. It is a privilege regulated by the Department of Licensing. People have also left ALL CAPS diatribes filled with vulgarities. I wonder if they could speak those words to me in the presence of Bawny’s parents? I wonder if Bawny’s friends and family would be sympathetic to the driver that does not want to have an alcohol detecting device in their car?

Even if those opposed had the balls to still argue against the notion I could care less about their opinion. I care that Bawny is dead at 18. If Cerrissa had sound alcohol detecting technology installed in her vehicle then Bawny would not be dead. The 16,000 killed each year across the United States from a drunk driver would not be dead.

I hope the McQuistin’s inform the court about Bawny’s life. I hope Bawny’s life story, the McQuistin’s grief and their loss burn into Cerrissa at the sentencing hearing. I hope Cerrissa’s nightmares torment her for the rest of her life.

DUI Blog Comments

One Response to “Cerrissa Christensen’s Sentencing Hearing Set for April 25”

  1. KCActivist on May 10th, 2008 7:32 pm

    Well Garth I’m with you on technology. There are alcohol detection devices being developed at this time and I would like to see it happen sooner than later. The person who killed my 17 year old boy and critically injured another had a BAC of .04 He was convicted of Veh.Hom-disregard for the lives and safety of others, and Veh.Assault DUI. In otherwords you do not have to have a .08 to kill others and go to prison. Technology could have saved my son’s life. The driver was sentenced to 2 years 4 months. Of course he was a good prisoner and got his 30% early release and on top of that he was sent to a work release facility where they made his mom be his supervisor!! It’s called community custody, they (DOC)allowed him to work within a mile of our home while serving his prison sentence. So he actually was only incarcerated for 17 months. He’s out now and blogs on his myspace about the virtues of smoking a drug called salvia and how it is so much better than LSD. He says that he has no regrets for anything that he has done because his life is great now with his new job that he learned in prison. He refers to my family as “the crazys”. Lets all pray he’s not driving. I don’t think 17 months convinced him that he needs to change his behavior. The sentencing standards for this deadly violent crime are pathetic. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and there will be an empty seat at my table where my son should be sitting with his wonderful smile. Bawny’s mom won’t get to share the day with her beutiful daughter. All over this country there will be kids missing their mom’s, mom’s missing their kids. At the same time there will be more fatalities due to drunk driving.
    Technology can’t come soon enough. The lawmakers in this country will take much longer to streangthen laws and keep these killers in prison where they belong.