Casey Rey Lake
Nineteen-year-old Casey Lake of Grant will serve four years of probation for motor vehicle homicide, with some pointed stipulations.
Lake was sentenced Monday in Lincoln County District Court.
On March 16, she was driving on I-80 three miles east of Hershey when she lost control of her 2007 Pontiac around 12:35 a.m. The car rolled several times. Passenger Emma Redinger, the daughter of Bill and Lee Redinger of Ogallala, was killed, and Lake was seriously injured.
According to state patrol investigators, the car was traveling at more than 100 miles per hour and Lake was texting. They said Redinger was wearing her seatbelt, although improperly. Investigators said Lake was not wearing a seatbelt and alcohol was a factor.
In court, prosecutors, defense and District Judge Richard Birch expressed a lot of sympathy and compassion for Lake.
Prosecutor Tanya Roberts-Connick asked the court for probation.
“It was an unfortunate accident and Casey will have to live with this for the rest of her life,” Roberts-Connick said. “This is an example of a perfect storm of bad choices and it is obvious to all that Casey is very remorseful for her actions.”
Defense attorney P. Stephen Potter said nothing will ever bring back Lake’s best friend.
“The victim’s family understands that this was just an accident, and it is true Casey will have to live with this the rest of her life.”
Birch agreed that probation is appropriate, as it certainly was an accident. He said he carefully read the evidence and depositions in the case.
“The victim’s family should be giving classes on how to lose a loved one,” he said. “Their comments and feelings were very well thought out and I listen to things like that.”
Days of observance
As part of probation, Lake will have to spend 24 hours in jail every year on Redinger’s birthday, on the date of the crash and on Christmas day. She is also required to do 200 hours of community service, speaking about the accident to high school and college students. She must have an interlock device on any vehicle she drives. Birch also, by law, suspended her license for one year.
“It must be part of me getting older,” Birch said. “I am becoming more and more aware of how fast things can spiral out of control and this was a perfect example of that.”
After the wreck, both women were taken by ambulance to Great Plains Regional Medical Center. Lake was airlifted to a Denver hospital with life threatening injuries. When she finally recovered, her attorney made arrangements for her to turn herself in on May 7 and she posted 10 percent of a $50,000 bond.