A 58-year-old Boise driver who prosecutors say took a “toxic cocktail” of prescription drugs — including some not prescribed to him — before he struck and killed a woman on a city sidewalk last fall has been sentenced to 13 years in prison, including three years before he’s eligible for parole.
Darrell Wayne Jackson pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter in the death of 33-year-old Menite Milien.
Milien was struck on a sidewalk along Maple Grove Road, near West Brookview Court, Oct. 1, 2017. It was Jackson’s third felony, and he pleaded guilty to being persistent violator.
“This is the tragic intersection of doing drugs and driving,” Judge Richard Greenwood said at Jackson’s sentencing Wednesday.
Greenwood ordered Jackson to pay $9,352.15 in restitution for the damage he did to a light pole and wages lost for Milien’s family to come to court.
Milien, who was described by two family members as a devoted daughter, generous sister and “the best auntie,” was a fitness model who dreamed of having her own gym.
Natacha Eddington, Milien’s sister, said her kids are afraid to walk on the sidewalk now.
“They’re afraid something will happen to them like their auntie. It’s supposed to be a safe place to walk,” said a tearful Eddington.
Crash reconstructionists estimated that Jackson was traveling at 34 to 48 miles per hour on a clear, dry day when he struck Milien and a nearby light pole, prosecutors said. He told police he fell asleep or blacked out, and a deputy prosecutor said in court that it’s no wonder with all the opioid drugs he had in his system at the time.
Under Idaho law, a person is considered a persistent violator of the law if convicted of a third felony. The habitual offender statue requires a sentence of no less than five years in prison and up to life in prison. Jackson’s prior convictions were for burglary and possession of a controlled substance, Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Tessie Buttram told the Statesman.
In court Wednesday, Buttram recommended that Jackson be sentenced to 30 years in prison, including 15 years before he was eligible for parole. His attorney, who said the prosecutors were essentially asking for a life sentence due to Jackson’s age, asked the judge to impose a 10-year sentence, including five years fixed.
Buttram said the crash that killed Milien was no “accident.” She said Jackson, who has a history of drug abuse, chose to take a dangerous mix of prescription drugs (Lorazepam and hydrocodone) and then get behind the wheel of his 2002 Ford Ranger.
Jackson, who worked as a roofer, had a prescription for hydrocodone for a back injury, Buttram said. He obtained the Lorazepam illegally, though no details on that were provided in court.
She said investigators found evidence that he had filled the hydrocodone prescription in the week before the crash, and he should have had about 100 pills left of 120 prescribed, but he had only 39 left.
She asked for a lifetime suspension of Jackson’s license because of his criminal history, 20-year pattern of drug abuse and “because he doesn’t make good choices.”
Jackson apologized to Milien’s family at the sentencing:
“I don’t have a written-out speech. I don’t have any great words of wisdom. The pain that I feel for the victims of this accident is laying heavy on my soul and conscience,” he said. “I wish I could take back what happened. I wish I could trade places with her ... I’m sorry that I took a beautiful soul from this world, and I apologize for that.”
Judge Greenwood took a 20-minute break before rendering his decision. He said he reviewed toxicology reports from the day of the crash.
Greenwood said there would be no sentence that would restore what Milien’s family lost. He said he believes Jackson is genuinely remorseful, and he’s not an “evil” or “heartless” man who set out to hurt someone, the judge said.
He agreed with Jackson’s attorney that a 30-year prison sentence would essentially be a life sentence for Jackson.
“We don’t sentence people to life in prison for involuntary manslaughter,” he said.
Greenwood did not impose a lifetime suspension of Jackson’s driver’s license, as prosecutors recommended. He ordered a one-year absolute suspension following the completion of Jackson’s sentence, then another 5-year license suspension. If Jackson does apply for a driver’s license again, his vehicle must have an ignition interlock device, the judge ordered.
Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413