Dancer gets 5 to 15 years in Vegas fatal DUI case

By Ken Ritter, Associated Press | Posted - Sep. 16, 2014 at 12:50 p.m.


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LAS VEGAS (AP) — A former Las Vegas strip-club dancer apologized and begged forgiveness Tuesday from sobbing family members before she was sentenced to five to 15 years in state prison for felony driving under the influence in an after-work crash that killed a 33-year-old man and injured the man's 18-month-old son.

"I'm very sorry for your loss," Shauna Diane Miller said as she stood in shackles and turned to face the mother of the boy and the stepfather and mother of James Joseph White.

"Not only did I rip a family apart," Miller said as she wept, "I know a father isn't involved in his son's life anymore, and that kills me every day."

"I pray that you can forgive me," she said.

Family members told Clark County District Court Judge Valorie Vega that they'll never forgive Miller for what the boy's mother, Rachel Sidor, called a "stupid and selfish decision" to drive her boyfriend's Hummer H2 home from the Spearmint Rhino early March 23, 2013.

The three-ton SUV slammed into the driver's side of White's 1997 Ford Escort, killing White and injuring his son in a car seat.

"My son will never get to play catch with his dad, or listen to his voice when he reads to him, or say, 'I love you,' " Sidor said.

"Shauna, you could have gotten a cab," Clifford Prugh, White's stepfather, said during his turn to speak in court. "You chose to get in a vehicle and drive, to kill our son."

Vega, who told Miller she should have thought of the consequences of drinking and driving, imposed the maximum five-to-15 year sentence. She also fined Miller $5,000, ordered her to pay more than $35,000 in restitution, including hospital costs for the boy, and said Miller will have to have a breath alcohol ignition interlock device on her vehicle for three years after her release from prison.

Miller avoided trial when she pleaded guilty July 10 to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Prosecutors dropped a second felony DUI charge.

Prosecutor Charles Martinovsky said Miller had marijuana in her system and a blood-alcohol percentage of 0.196 percent, almost 2½ times the legal limit, when she accelerated as she approached a traffic signal that witnesses said was turning from yellow to red.

"There was no evidence of braking whatsoever," Martinovsky said, citing data recovered from the Hummer "black box" computer.

"The fact is, she was trying to run that yellow light. It turned red. She killed a victim and caused substantial bodily harm" to the boy, Martinovsky said.

The prosecutor also noted that Miller was seen spraying herself with perfume before police arrived.

Las Vegas police said Miller told investigators that she drank two beers and took the anti-anxiety medication Xanax at work overnight.

Defense attorney Sean Sullivan noted that Miller has spent 18 months in jail, and said she wants to use her story to tell others not to drink and drive. He said she could be out of prison in 3½ years.

"She's going to get out and try to make restitution," Sullivan said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Ken Ritter

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