A 22-year-old Surprise man has pleaded guilty in a 2006 crash that left three teens dead, and the firefighter mom of one victim is being treated for depression after learning he might get probation.
The Houston firefighter, Jane Draycott, made headlines a couple of weeks ago after being busted for shoplifting a DVD player, some DVDs and a bag of ice from a Walmart -- while in uniform. Draycott was already well-known in Houston for a high-profile sexual harassment lawsuit she'd filed against co-workers.
Draycott claims she was out of her head during the shoplifting incident because she'd just been told by Arizona prosecutors that the man responsible for her daugher's death, Justin Draper, might not serve any prison time.
Police say Draper, then 18, was speeding in a 45 mph on Bell Road just east of Tatum Boulevard on September 24, 2006, when a Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Michael Foley turned left in front of him.
Draper's Ford Mustang slammed into the Jeep, killing Foley, 18, and Foley's 15-year-old girlfriend, Jelena Nokeo. One of Draper's passenger's, 17-year-old Amanda Jane Franklin (Draycott's daughter) was also killed. Another passenger, Brittany Micko, was injured severely. Draper was also injured.
Horrible as the collision was, Draper's excessive speed was the main issue. Cops never alleged that he was impaired on drugs or alcohol, but estimate he'd been going at least 70.
The case languished for three years without any charges against Draper until 2009, when he was arrested and indicted on three counts of manslaughter and one count of aggravated assault. He spent 20 days in jail last year before posting bond.
In the plea deal, approved by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Warren Granville on August 12, Draper admits to three counts of negligent homicide. The "dangerous" label on the original counts has also been lifted, meaning Draper -- now 22 -- does not face mandatory prison time.
He could, however, get up to 11 years in prison when he's sentenced on September 21.