Court upholds conviction of Oak Harbor woman
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
March 8, 2013 · Updated 3:15 PM
Washington State Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of an Oak Harbor woman who caused an accident that killed three people and injured two others in September 2010.
Jordyn Weichert is serving an eight-year prison sentence on three counts of vehicular homicide and two counts of vehicular assault.
She was convicted in a high-profile jury trial in 2011.
Weichert appealed, which is usual when someone is convicted of a felony at trial. The Appeals Court affirmed her conviction in a decision published March 4.
Island County Deputy Prosecutor David Carman said Weichert’s attorneys have 30 days to request a review by the state Supreme Court.
Weichert was 20 years old when the crash occurred on North Whidbey. She was driving a Chevrolet Blazer when she asked the front-seat passenger, Samantha Bowling, to hold the wheel while she put on a sweater.
They lost control of the vehicle, causing it to veer into the oncoming lane.
The Blazer rolled over the top of a Subaru, killing the driver, 33-year-old Brian Wood of North Vancouver, B.C., and seriously injuring his pregnant wife, Erin Wood.
Two passengers in Weichert’s vehicle were killed.
The fatalities were 25-year-old Jacob Quistorf and 26-year-old Francis Malloy, both of Oak Harbor.
Bowling suffered a fractured hip.
Toxicology results showed that Weichert allegedly used heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana prior to the accident, but the judge ruled that the prosecutor didn’t prove the drugs were a cause of the collision.
Bowling pleaded guilty to three counts of vehicular homicide; she was sentenced to five years and one month in prison.
Weichert pleaded not guilty and went to trial. She was represented by Bellevue attorney Diego Vargas, who the prosecutor described as one of the top DUI attorneys in the state.
Weichert’s appeal attorneys claimed ineffective assistance of counsel, arguing that her defense attorneys was “deficient when he failed to renew challenges to drug-related evidence,” the opinion states.
In addition, her attorneys argued that the judge erred in not allowing her to argue that mechanical defects in a vehicle caused the accident; that the judge erred in allowing evidence of her drug use; and the judge erred by denying the defense request for a sentence below the standard range.
The Appeals Court disagreed, maintaining that the attorneys didn’t show that a renew challenge to the drug evidence would have been sustained.
The Appeals Court opinion states that the trial judge ruled properly on the issues raised by the defense.
Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.