GOSHEN — Lynda Nagy learned the hard way that drinking and driving don’t mix, a lesson with the cost of her best friend’s life and the next several years of her own.
As Nagy was sentenced Thursday to a six-year prison term, two years of home detention and six years of probation, she cried just like the family of her friend, Gale Hall.
“I’m so sorry,” Nagy said to Hall’s family. “I’ve asked all the questions they have. I’ve questioned why it was her, why it wasn’t me,” she said.
Nagy was sentenced for DUI causing death after admitting she’d been drinking and doing marijuana before the crash Sept. 25, 2011.
Nagy, 31, drove off S.R. 19 just north of Elkhart and rolled her SUV.
“My carelessness took somebody’s life and there’s a reason you shouldn’t drink and drive. I knew better,” Nagy said.
Hall’s mother, Glory Collins, and Hall’s sister, Kelley Calzada, both said they realize it was an accident, but as Collins said, “There’s no replacing my daughter.”
Calzada lost her best friend in her sister, a woman she said “was a wonderful person. She would give the shirt off her back.”
Hall’s daughter, Erica, 17, said everything’s changed since she lost her mom. Erica said Nagy “should get punished, she should serve something for what she’s done.”
Deputy Prosecutor Kristine Osterday said, “if the fact that Miss Nagy killed her best friend doesn’t get her attention, there’s nothing the state or this court can do.”
Elkhart Circuit Judge Terry Shewmaker imposed the sentence called for in a plea deal, one on which Hall’s family signed off. Shewmaker ordered Nagy to pay restitution to Hall’s family through the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program, suspended her driver’s license for four years and ordered her to perform 50 hours of community service.