Drunk driver in fatal accident up for parole

A woman is up for parole three years after driving drunk and causing an accident killing two 26-year-olds.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A woman is up for parole three years after driving drunk and causing an accident killing two 26-year-olds. The victims' families are speaking out to keep her behind bars.

Sean Mabrey died at the scene. Sean's friend, Kathy Mellinger, died three days later. Mabrey's mother says giving testimony to the Arkansas Parole Board was like ripping a scab off but way worse.

"We have nightmares of the wreck," said Margaret Dearing who is Kathy Mellinger's mother. "Of not being able to help her. That she is calling out to us. And we cannot fix that."

Tears stream down Margaret Dearing's face as she expresses the hurt with words and pictures of her daughter in the final days before her death.

"I expect her to serve 18," said Dearing. "I expect her to never have a driver's license again."

Dearing's husband sits behind her holding a memory of the last time they saw her. A picture of Kathy Mellinger posing in a dress for a wedding she did not get to have.

"I cannot believe this child is gone," said Dearing.

Before Dearing, Lisa Mabrey spoke with a tissue clenched in her hand.

"We have lost people that we will never have back," said Mabrey.

Megan James could have lost her life too. Instead, Mellinger and Maybey dropped her off right before the accident.

"I deal with that guilt every single day," said James.

The Arkansas Parole Board hears testimonies for about 800 parole cases a month.

"When we meet with the victims of crimes, it is the most difficult day of the week," said Arkansas Parole Board Chairman John Felts.

Felts says they are not for the victim or the inmate. The board's decision comes down to what is best for society.

"We look at the institutional record, the amount of time served on the sentence, what type of programming that the inmate has taken to better themselves," said Felts.

Hill's attorney, John Everett, says she is genuinely remorseful and grieves daily. Mabrey also grieves each day. She says not a day goes by when she does not cry.

"Every single day something reminds me of Sean," said Mabrey.

Dearing added, "Kathy had this ring. It is not round, and that is because she gripped the steering wheel to veer away from Dorothy's car."

Dearing wears the ring every day, instead of her daughter wearing one of hers.

"You always expect to be the one to go first not your child," said Dearing.

"I just want a balance of justice, and I think my son's life and Kathy's life are worth more than three years," said Mabrey.

The Arkansas Parole Board meets with Dorothy Hill on Tuesday August 12th. Her attorney also says Hill has been going through rehab programs. The board plans to announce a decision on August 14th.

The accident happened on May 15th, 2011 around 2 a.m. Hill, a teacher at the time, was under the influence of alcohol, almost three times the legal limit. She drove her car the wrong way on Interstate 540 in Fayetteville. Hill pleaded guilty to two counts of negligent homicide in January 2012. She agreed to serve 18 years and became eligible for parole after serving three years.

The University of Arkansas created a Mellinger/Mabrey Scholarship. It is dedicated to theater students at the University. Since the scholarship reached and exceeded the endowed level, more than one award will be awarded starting this fall. At last check, the collection reached $42,500.


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