Cedar Rapids man will serve 12 years in 2012 vehicular homicide

Defendant apologizes to the family

Trish Mehaffey
Published: January 23 2014 | 3:10 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 2:34 am in
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Amy Kuehl said in a victim impact statement Thursday that not a day goes by that she doesn't think of "Sissy."

She talked to her sister, Angela Kuehl, every day before she was killed in the March 18, 2012 crash. The sisters were each other's "rock."

Verna Kuehl, Angela's mother, said in her statement it has been "one year, 10 months and five days" since she found out her daughter died that early morning but "it doesn't get easier... the pain is always there." The most difficult time is when her daughter's three children wake up, crying from a bad dream about their mother.

Verna Kuehl said she should forgive what happened to her daughter but that's difficult. The sentencing of Jermonda Pledge won't bring closure. She doubts her family will ever feel that.

Pledge, 29, of Cedar Rapids, pleaded guilty earlier this month to vehicular homicide - reckless driving, a felony, and driving while barred, an aggravated misdemeanor. He was sentenced Thursday to 12 years in prison. He also was charged with homicide by vehicle - OWI but that charge was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

Angela Kuehl, 29, 0f Alburnett, was Pledge's girlfriend and passenger that night. Pledge sped through a red light and lost control of his vehicle near the intersection of County Home Road and C Avenue Extension March 18, 2012. Angela Kuehl was ejected from the passenger side window as the car rolled over several times. She died at the scene.

Pledge during his sentencing apologized to Angela Kuehl's family and said he took full responsibility. He said he didn't expect their forgiveness today but hoped for it one day.

During the plea hearing, Pledge admitted he was driving 75 mph as he went through the intersection and was being reckless that night.

First Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks said earlier this month the plea agreement was the best resolution to this case because Pledge's blood alcohol content level was .00 by the time a warrant was issued and the test was taken, which was more than two hours after the crash.

Pledge also admitted to smoking marijuana earlier that day and there was a small amount of THC found in his blood but lab officials concluded it wasn't possible to say if that amount caused an impairment.

Maybanks said it would be difficult to prove that he was under the influence to the point of impairment, which is required to prove the homicide by vehicle - OWI charge.

Pledge was also ordered to pay $150,000 to Angela Kuehl's estate and $7,432 to the Iowa crime victims assistance program.

 

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