Woman vows to move ahead without alcohol
By MIKE CORN
By MIKE CORN
Through nearly uncontrollable sobs, 21-year-old Brittnie J. Walker vowed Monday in Ellis County District Court to move ahead with her life without drugs and alcohol.
"I'm so sorry," she said as District Judge Glenn Braun prepared to sentence her on a series of charges surrounding the death of 20-year-old Jordan Dale Schreurs. He died in June after falling from the roof of a car the Longmont, Colo., woman was driving on a county road southwest of Hays.
As part of a plea agreement, Walker pleaded no contest in mid-August to a series of charges, including two counts of driving under the influence.
She also pleaded no contest to an amended felony charge of attempted failure to report an accident resulting in death and a misdemeanor charge of vehicular homicide.
Braun didn't follow the agreement precisely, imposing an underlying sentence of 48 months in prison, but he still put her on probation for two years through community corrections.
She already has served a 90-day jail sentence called for under the terms of the plea agreement, but credit for the time was given to the first-time DUI charge against her.
Before handing down the sentence, Braun paid close attention as Jordan Schreurs' survivors made statements, the most gripping by his mother, Debra Creamer, Hays.
Creamer told Braun how difficult it was to receive a call from her son's friend, telling her he had been injured in an accident.
"I walked into the emergency room and saw my son bruised and unconscious," she said. "The doctors there came in and told me there was nothing they could do."
Unwilling to accept that, she had her son moved to the University of Kansas Medical Center for a second opinion.
There, she received the same information, and eventually his life-support equipment was unplugged.
"A mother shouldn't ever have to bury their child," she said.
While Creamer said she donated his organs, she told of the loss of being able to sit down with her son, to talk to him or see him.
"I do not believe Ms. Walker's actions that morning were malicious," she said. "It never would have happened if they hadn't been drinking."
Creamer said Walker is getting a second chance with her life, something her son didn't get.
"If Ms. Walker's life changes for the better, then my son did not die in vain," she said, offering her help in any way she can.
"I'm so sorry," Walker said in addressing Braun, her voice breaking as she sobbed. "I accept anything you do to me.
"I will grow and get on with my life and do it without drugs or alcohol. I'm so sorry."
While Braun said he was willing to accept most of the provisions of the plea agreement, he voiced concerns about her future.
The court, he said, isn't a place for forgiveness, even though Schreurs' family appeared ready to do just that.
"The real crime you committed was you failed to report an injury accident," Braun said of the accident leading to the death, something that might have been prevented through the marvels of modern medicine.
"As a result, you're going to have to live with that," he said.
And that begs the question of why it wasn't reported, Braun said, citing her age and the effects of the alcohol.
"You were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you were young and you did something stupid," he said.
His greatest concern, however, came from her alcohol evaluation, in which Walker said she didn't think she had a drinking problem.
"Well, young lady, you do," Braun said. "If nothing else, you have to understand you have a problem. Not only do you have a drug or alcohol problem, you have a guilt problem.
"Psychologically, that will eat on you, and you will want to get rid of that pain. What will you turn to?"
He admonished her to stay away from either drugs or alcohol to dull the pain.
Doing so will result in her being sent to prison to serve out her term, Braun said.