- Associated Press - Saturday, December 20, 2014

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - An Alaska airman has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for a drunken driving collision that took the life of a 20-year-old woman.

Alaska Dispatch News reported (https://bit.ly/1wV7bcY) Lane Douglas Wyatt had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, first degree assault and drunken driving.

Citari Townes-Sweatt died in 2013 after Wyatt ran a red light in East Anchorage and hit the car she was driving. Assistant district attorney Will Taylor says friends tried to prevent Wyatt from driving.

“(Wyatt) had several opportunities to avoid the accident that were recklessly ignored,” said Superior Court Judge Kevin Saxby.

Police said Wyatt was driving a Chrysler 300 at a “high rate of speed” just before 5 a.m. when he ran a red light and “T-boned” a Chevrolet Monte Carlo driven by Townes-Sweatt, who died at the scene.

Four passengers in the Monte Carlo were injured and taken to hospitals for treatment, according to court documents. Three passengers in the Chrysler 300 were injured as well.

Some of those injured in Townes-Sweatt’s car continue to deal with injuries, Taylor said.

At the scene, Wyatt admitted to drinking five shots of hard alcohol and three beers at Chilkoot Charlie’s before driving, according to court documents.

At the sentencing, Wyatt, 24, said there was nothing he could say or do to make things right. He apologized to Townes-Sweatt’s family.

“I don’t know if I’m ever going to be able to forgive myself,” he said.

Both families, unknown to each other before the collision, cried openly in the Anchorage courtroom as the sentence was announced.

Townes-Sweatt’s mother, Lanita Sweatt-Sanders, attended the hearing by telephone.

“I truly forgive you,” Sweatt-Sanders said. “What matters is that you forgive yourself. . I miss my daughter. I’m sure your parents will miss you while you’re away too.”

Wyatt was an Air Force airman at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

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Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, https://www.adn.com

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