HANSON (CBS) – A woman accused of driving while on drugs changes her mind and her plea to guilty. Kathleen Vitello, 54, of Hanson was sentenced to 6 to 8 years for motor vehicle manslaughter two years after she struck and killed Hanover nurse, 32-year-old Amanda Russell.
Vitello was under the influence of four different prescription medications when she crossed the line on Winter Street in Hanson December 23, 2015 and struck Russell who was on a run training for the Boston Marathon.
Russell, a delivery nurse at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, was raising money for the neonatal intensive care unit.
Prosecutors say doctors had warned Vitello not to drive. “She was on notice about those medications and what they did to her and she made a conscious decision to get behind the wheel,” said Russ Eonas, Plymouth county assistant district attorney.
It’s a case of “drugged driving” that District Attorney Timothy Cruz says is becoming all too common and more difficult to prove without roadside tests. He hopes the change of plea will give the family some solace.
“The family lost a vivacious nurse who was helping her community. This woman with no record was mixing prescription medications and driving her motor vehicle in a public way. There are no winners,” said Cruz.
Vitello handed the judge a letter to give to Amanda Russell’s family, including her now 10-year-old son, expressing feelings of remorse.