- The Washington Times - Monday, May 16, 2011

A Maryland woman was sentenced Monday to six years in prison for a traffic accident that killed an Austrian exchange student last year and injured another woman, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said.

Chamica Adams, 24, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in March and has been in custody ever since.

Authorities say Adams, of Mitchellville, had been drinking at a club in Adams Morgan on Sept. 8 just before the crash. A security video from inside the club showed her having several drinks and stumbling as she left the establishment alone.

At about 8:35 p.m., Adams drove southbound on 18th Street Northwest to the intersection with Florida Avenue. As she attempted to make a left turn, at what authorities said appeared to be a high rate of speed, she drove over a traffic island.

Four people — all students at the D.C.-based Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University — were waiting on the island for the signal to cross the street. Adams drove through the group, striking an Austrian graduate student and her friend, sending them airborne. She crashed the car into an empty restaurant storefront.

Julia Bachleitner, 26, died six days after the crash. Another woman, then 26, suffered facial fractures, a compound leg fracture, loss of teeth and a concussion with bleeding on the brain. She was hospitalized for several days.

Adams, whose blood-alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit, was not injured. She was arrested and a bottle of liquor — three-quarters empty — was found in her car.

“Not only was one person killed and another injured, because of a very bad decision, but the driver now is at the mercy of the court and will have to live with her decision to drive drunk for the rest of her life,” Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Gerald I. Fisher suspended part of the sentence, ordering Adams to serve a total of 40 months in prison and then successfully complete terms of probation — perform 500 hours of community service, take classes about alcohol abuse and the impact of crimes upon victims, and seek counseling.

Miss Bachleitner’s family will choose the community service project.

• Matthew Cella can be reached at mcella@washingtontimes.com.

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