Santa Rosa, CA – June 22, 2016 – District Attorney Jill Ravitch has announced that defendant Gayle Diane Gray, 77-years-old of Santa Rosa, was sentenced today by the Honorable Jaime Thistlethwaite to a term of 7 years 4 months in state prison.
District Attorney Ravitch stated, “This was a terrible event that could have easily been avoided. Instead, a selfish choice to drive while intoxicated ended in tragedy. The defendant knew from experience that drinking and driving don’t mix, and yet that day disregarded that knowledge and forever shattered
The charges resulted from a January 20, 2016 incident in which Ms. Gray caused the death of 85-year-old Jackie Simon and severely injured 91-year-old Josephine Ross. The defendant was driving out of Oakmont Market parking lot with her dog on her lap when she struck the two women who had been walking from the
cleaners. After hitting the two women Ms. Gray’s vehicle continued traveling across Oakmont Drive, going over the center median and colliding with the chain link fence on the east side of the street. She remained in her vehicle until law enforcement arrived. Her blood alcohol content was 0.052% more
than 3 hours after the accident, and she had various prescription medications in her system. Ms. Gray had two prior misdemeanor convictions for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol in 1994 and 2003.
On May 4, 2016, Ms. Gray entered pleas to felony violations of Vehicular Manslaughter and Driving Under the Combined Influence of Alcohol and Drugs. She also admitted enhancements for causing “Great Bodily Injury” and injuring multiple victims. The pleas were open with no indication as to what the sentence
would be. The sentencing option ranged from a possible grant of probation to up to 9 years 8 months in state prison. Her 7 year 4 month sentence will be served in state prison and she is required to serve 85% of that sentence before she will be eligible for parole. She was also ordered to
pay over $300,000 in restitution, most of which stems from outstanding medical expenses for Ms. Ross.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Tashawn Sanders and Jessica Washington, assisted by District Attorney Investigator Ken Pistorio. Jeffrey Woods of Santa Rosa Police Department headed the investigation.