IDAHO CITY — David Leroy Persons was sentenced from two to 10 years in prison. Fourth District Boise County Judge Patrick Owen retained jurisdiction, meaning Persons could be released from prison in six to 12 months if he successfully completes a prison program meant to keep him from returning.
Authorities said Persons was driving drunk when he drove his 1998 Subaru Forester off Arrowrock Road on Aug. 9, 2012. His stepdaughter, Pearl Sittner, 4, drowned in Lucky Peak Reservoir after the vehicle fell 70 feet into the water.
Persons, his wife, their infant son and his wife's 8-year-old daughter escaped from the vehicle before it plunged into the water. Persons and his wife approached the water but were unable to reach the SUV.
The couple flagged down a passing motorist, who used an emergency phone at a park to call for help.
The Boise Fire Department dive team responded and located the girl within three minutes. The youngster was placed in a boat and rescuers performed CPR on her. Pearl died before an air ambulance arrived at Macks Creek.
Persons had a blood alcohol level of .09 percent, which exceeded Idaho's .08 percent limit for drivers.
In exchange for Persons' guilty plea to vehicular manslaughter, Owen dismissed charges of drunk driving and driving without privileges.