Home | News | Woman Sentenced To 17 Years For The Murder Of Ethiopian Anteneh Menassie (Video)

Woman Sentenced To 17 Years For The Murder Of Ethiopian Anteneh Menassie (Video)

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Arizona woman gets prison in fatal wrong-way crash

Defendant was under the influence of alcohol when she caused a freeway crash near Old Town

A Phoenix woman who was under the influence of alcohol when she caused a wrong-way crash on Interstate 5 near Old Town that killed a taxi driver was sentenced Friday to 17 years and eight months in prison.

Amy Marie St. John-Smith, 44, pleaded guilty in November to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and DUI causing injury. She also admitted several allegations including causing great body injury and leaving the crash scene.

The man killed in the collision was Anteneh Minassie, 42, a married father of three children. He immigrated to the United States from Ethiopia in 2004. He was an engineer who drove the cab for a second income.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Louis Hanoian sentenced the defendant in keeping with the plea agreement.

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According to court documents, the chain-reaction crash occurred just before 2:30 a.m. on April 19, 2014. St. John-Smith, who flew into San Diego the previous day and was driving a rented Hyundai, drove the wrong way onto Interstate 5 via the Washington Street offramp.

Minassie was headed south on the freeway in a Ford Crown Victoria taxi when he was struck head-on by the Hyundai. He had gotten out of his car and started to walk around it when another car hit the taxi, causing it to rotate toward Minassie and knock him to the pavement.

Minassie rolled underneath the taxi. When it was hit again, it tumbled down an embankment.

Authorities believe Minassie was already dead when other cars rolled over him.

A witness followed St. John-Smith as she drove off the freeway, parked near Fourth and A streets in downtown San Diego and walked away from the rental car. She checked into a nearby hotel, where she was arrested.

Deputy District Attorney Lucy Yturralde has said St. John-Smith’s blood-alcohol content measured .27 percent at the time of the crash, well over the legal limit of .08 percent for California drivers.

St. John-Smith had faced a murder charge in the cabdriver’s death. She has a previous conviction for misdemeanor DUI in Arizona.

 

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