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San Juan man pleads guilty in case of Memorial Day fatal crash; prosecutors to recommend three years in prison

A San Juan Island man who faces a maximum penalty of life in prison will likely serve far less for his role in a fatal collision that took the life of his passenger.

According to court documents, prosecutors will recommend that Dana Richard Kempton serve three years in prison and pay a total of $7,550 in fines, fees and restitution for causing a single-car collision that claimed the life of 25-year-old John Parish.

On Feb. 11, Kempton pleaded guilty in San Juan County Superior Court to one count of vehicular homicide, a Class A felony, which carries maximum penalties of life in prison, a $50,000 fine, or both. Kempton, who has no prior felony convictions, will be sentenced March 18 in Superior Court.

As part of the guilty plea, Kempton, 24, admitted to driving while intoxicated at the time of crash, which occurred near the intersection of Cattle Point Road and Madden Lane at about 6:30 p.m. He pleaded innocent to the felony charge at the time he was arraigned in August.

According to the Snohomish County Medial Examiner, Parish, who was pronounced dead at the scene, died from blunt force injuries to his head and neck. Kempton was taken to Harborview Medical Center for treatment of injuries and released the following day.

Investigators believe the two men were traveling at a high-rate of speed when Kempton lost control of his Dodge Caravan while eastbound on Cattle Point Road. His blood alcohol level was later determined to be .08 percent, according to investigators.

Kempton has been represented by William Jaquette of the Snohomish County Public Defenders Association, who handles homicide cases under San Juan County's public defender contract.

A Class A felony, vehicular homicide carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, however, the standard range of sentencing set by the state is 31-41 months.

Prosecutors will also recommend, according to court documents, that Kempton serve 18 months on probation following his release from prison, and that he not be permitted to drive for seven years without an ignition interlock device.

— Scott Rasmussen

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