Woman accused of third DUI ten years after fatal crash in Pend Oreille county


The woman responsible for a fatal DUI crash that killed two Mt. Spokane High School grads a decade ago was back in court this week, charged with another DUI.

On Wednesday, Dawn Vrentas, 31, was charged with felony DUI in King County.  Washington State Patrol pulled Vrentas over for speeding on Saturday along Interstate 5.

Vrentas allegedly had a blood alcohol level of .14.  The legal limit in Washington in .08. 

In 2000, at just 18-years old, Vrentas was convicted of DUI.  In 2003, she was driving drunk, crashed into a marsh in Pend Oreille County and killed two of her friends, Kyle Hutchinson and Walter Corman.  Vrentas, who at the time went by her maiden name, Wiltzius, was convicted of vehicular manslaughter and served five and half years in prison.

Kyle Hutchinson's sister, Kayla Welch said she learned on Vrentas' arrest on Wednesday.

"The thing that is frustrating to me is this pattern of reckless behavior," said Kayla Welch.

"Shows she isn't remorseful, hasn't changed and is a risk to our society," she added.

Welch said Vrentas' arrest brings back so many emotions.

"There's a hole in our family, I don't have a brother. My kids don't have an uncle. My parents don't have a son . . .we lost a very important part of our family," she added.

Welch said our system needs to do a better job at protecting the community from repeat offenders.

"Really urge people to reach out to their prosecutors . . . to recognize this as the serious crime that this is," said Welch.

In July, Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill to toughen DUI laws.  Now, if you've been convicted of a DUI and your suspected of the same offense again you will be arrested, booked and an interlocking device will be installed in your car.

Vrentas will make her next court appearance later this month.  If convicted, she could face up to 43 months in prison.

"It feels like did she forget? Did it not matter? Because the pain for those of us that have lost Kyle and Wally is so very real, everyday and they don't get a second chance.  They don't get a chance at anything, they don't get second chances," said Welch.