A family is demanding answers after its loved one was killed in a wrong-way crash caused by a suspected drunken driver who has a long history of being drunk behind the wheel.
Aaron Dean Gentry used a piece of paper to hide his face from the camera during his first court appearance but the judge ordered him to put the paper down.
Court documents show the 56-year-old Tulalip man, who has a long history of driving while drunk, admitted to troopers that he was drunk when he allegedly drove the wrong way on I-5 through Snohomish County, killing Miriam Robinson, of Albany, Oregon.
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“It definitely feels like a preventable tragedy,” Robinson's sister Sarah Anguiano said, “This never should have happened.”
Robinson's family told KIRO that Miriam was just a month shy of turning 29 when she died. She was the fifth of eight brothers and sisters.
She was headed home after visiting friends when she was killed.
“It feels like the world got a little bit darker when she died,” said sister Kim Ward.
Gentry was reportedly traveling at over 100 mph. He first hit a car on the overpass near 116th Street in Marysville. Then, while going the wrong way on southbound I-5, he drove for 6 miles and hit three other cars before crashing head-on into the car in which Robinson was a passenger. The driver and a baby survived the crash. No one else was hurt.
In court, prosecutor Adam Cornell said that, if Gentry is convicted, it would be his sixth alcohol-related driving conviction.
“The offense conduct in the superform is unfathomably troubling," Cornell said.
The judge listed Gentry's troubling history, which includes three DUI convictions going back as far as 1981, and, most recently, a reckless driving conviction from 2016.
She set bail at $500,000.
At the time of the accident, documents show, Gentry was driving on a suspended license and was supposed to have an ignition interlock device in his car but did not. He was apparently driving someone else's car.
“That doesn't make sense why he was even on the road at all,” Anguiano said. “He's definitely fallen through some gap in the system that needs to be looked at. I don't want anyone else's family to go through this.”
According to the documents, open containers of alcohol were also seen in the car.
Robinson’s sisters also said they just want to make sure Robinson doesn't get lost in all of this. They saidthey want people to know she was amazing and someone special was lost.
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