Kaytlyn Ann Graefe, a 20-year-old Shoshone resident charged with causing the death of Bellevue resident Georgina Ubence, 37, in a fatal car accident last year, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and possession of marijuana during a closed proceeding Monday.
According to Graefe’s public defense attorney, Selim Star, she pleaded guilty to the two charges in lieu of a jury trial.
Fifth District Magistrate Judge Jennifer Haemmerle closed the hearing to any member of the audience who was not family of the victim or the defendant due to confidential matters that would be discussed. About 15 people were allowed to remain in the room. They included Ubence’s husband and Graefe’s mother. According to Star, no victim impact statements were given during the hearing. He declined to say why the hearing was closed to the public.
In January, Graefe was charged with vehicular manslaughter for the accident, which occurred near Timmerman Junction in southern Blaine County on Aug. 19. According to a probable-cause affidavit written by Blaine County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Christopher Harrison, he was dispatched to the scene around 7:15 p.m. for a two-vehicle, head-on collision.
The report concluded that Graefe, who was traveling south in a Chevrolet Sonic, drove left of the center and collided with a black Jeep Wrangler driven by Javier Ubence, with front-seat passenger Georgina Ubence, “which resulted in the death of Georgina Ubence.”
“Tire marks indicate that the Jeep attempted to brake and avoid the collision before being struck by the Chevrolet,” the report states. “The lack of tire marks from the Chevrolet indicate[s] the vehicle made no attempt to break or swerve prior to the collision.”
The front passenger side of Graefe’s vehicle struck the passenger side of the Jeep, the affidavit states.
“Ms. Graefe’s statements to on-scene medical providers, ‘I fell asleep, did I kill her, please tell me I didn’t, I fell asleep, I didn’t mean to,’ indicate that Ms. Graefe was asleep while operating her vehicle at the time of the crash,” the affidavit states.
Graefe is scheduled for sentencing on July 10, at which time the victim’s family will have the opportunity to give victim’s impact statements, and Graefe will also have the opportunity to address the court.
For the charge of vehicular manslaughter, Graefe could be sentenced to a maximum of one year in jail. She has already spent over a third of a year in the Blaine County jail since her arrest on Jan. 25. Her current bond is set at $20,000.