BEDFORD — A Moneta woman will serve just under three years behind bars after being sentenced Friday in connection with an August 2019 DUI crash that killed a man.
Brandi Michelle Credille, 36, pleaded no contest in September 2020 to charges of involuntary manslaughter, felony child neglect and misdemeanor driving under the influence.
Credille was driving north on Moneta Road, near the Moneta Post Office, in the late morning of Aug. 8, 2019, when her vehicle swerved across the center lane and hit William Lee Keeney’s truck as he was headed south, Bedford Commonwealth’s Attorney Wes Nance said at the September hearing. Keeney died of blunt force injuries to the torso at the scene of the crash.
Witnesses said Credille emerged from the crash in a daze and appeared not to be properly attentive to the two children — both under the age of 10 — in her vehicle, Nance said at the hearing. A blood test later showed she had a tranquilizer drug and a “high level” of oxycodone in her system.
On Friday, Credille’s mother, Donna Cook; Credille’s ex-husband, Travis Credille; and Brandi Credille herself testified on her behalf.
Brandi Credille’s attorney, Linda Willis; Cook; and Travis Credille said Brandi Credille first was prescribed painkillers at age 16 and has suffered chronic pain from a variety of medical conditions.
For years, Brandi Credille took her medicine only as prescribed, according to testimony, and Travis Credille said he had not noticed any signs Brandi Credille was misusing her pain medications.
Brandi Credille and Willis said the drug abuse began around the time the Credilles’ 15-year marriage ended during summer 2019, which plunged Brandi Credille into anxiety and depression that induced her to resort to drug abuse to cope.
Cook testified around the time of her daughter’s dissolving marriage, she noticed a few instances when Brandi Credille’s speech was slurred or she said “crazy” things during their daily phone conversations. Cook said she confronted her daughter about her suspicions a few times. However, Cook said, Credille sounded clear of mind the morning of the fatal crash.
Cook and Travis Credille both said Brandi Credille always was a devoted mother to the five children in her home. The children spent every other week between their parents after the couple split.
The two children who were in the vehicle when Brandi Credille crashed are recovering, Travis Credille said.
Willis added Brandi Credille has been receiving therapy, including counseling for anxiety, depression and PTSD related to the crash that killed Keeney.
Keeney’s daughter, Karen Keeney, traveled from her home in Texas to testify about her father, who she said spent time in the military and in law enforcement earlier in his life and was a loving and loveable individual.
“My family’s lives changed forever,” Karen said of losing her father, who she added was a careful driver.
Keeney’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit last year that ended in a settlement agreement. Brandi Credille and insurance companies that covered her at the time agreed to pay a total of $100,000 to Keeney’s family members and their attorney.
Nance said the situation was unfair to all parties involved, but it was not Brandi Credille’s chronic pain or addiction being sentenced.
He said while there was no malice or premeditation on Brandi Credille’s part, she made the decision to put others at risk by getting behind the wheel of her vehicle under the influence of her addiction and needed to be held accountable.
In all, Brandi Credille was sentenced to 10 years in prison with all but two years, 11 months and five days suspended. For at least three years after her release, she will be under supervised probation. Conditions of good behavior include compliance with substance abuse and mental health treatment and no operation of a motor vehicle.
Credille also must pay a $1,000 fine and have her driver’s license suspended indefinitely for the DUI charge.