A Post Falls man was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison for vehicular manslaughter stemming from a woman’s death in 2019, according to the Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Duane A. Bradley, 47, initially was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance and driving under the influence when 49-year-old Jennifer L. Columbia suffered fatal injuries Oct. 19 at Bob’s 21 Club in Post Falls. Authorities said Bradley slammed his brakes while he was backing out of the parking lot at a high rate of speed, which ejected Columbia from his truck.
Columbia died from head injuries suffered when she hit the pavement, according to prosecutors.
Bradley’s sentence includes credit for time served, prosecutors said. It will run concurrently with time linked to a 2013 conviction for trafficking methamphetamine, for which he was on parole.
Prosecutors said Kootenai County District Judge Lansing Haynes issued the sentence, arranged after Bradley had entered an Alford plea, which recognizes that prosecutors have enough evidence that could allow a jury to find the defendant guilty.
Prosecutors said Bradley initially told investigators that Columbia had jumped from the truck while he was backing up. He admitted to having two drinks, and his blood alcohol level was .173 – more than twice the legal limit, according to prosecutors.
Bradley’s criminal history includes five prior DUIs and a conviction for felony eluding, prosecutors said.
“Mr. Bradley’s failure to acknowledge his responsibility for the death of his passenger, when combined with his criminal history and unwillingness to follow the terms of his parole demonstrate the danger he poses to the community,” Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney Barry McHugh said in a statement. “The case is a tragic reminder that driving under the influence is a serious offense that puts the lives of others at risk. Mr. Bradley failed to learn from prior convictions, and the safety of the community can only be assured by his incarceration.”
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