4-year sentence for driver who killed 2 in Lake City crash

SEATTLE - A driver accused of crashing his SUV into the car of a young couple in Lake City, killing them and seriously injuring his child passenger in 2011 was sentenced Monday to four years in prison.

Daniel Habeeb was sentenced after pleading guilty to one count of vehicular homicide and one count of vehicular assault in connection with the deadly crash.

He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to a second count of vehicular homicide, and the judge accepted that plea after defense attorneys argued that Habeeb suffers from temporal lobe epilepsy that was undiagnosed at the time of the crash.

According to police and witnesses, the SUV driven by Daniel Habeeb slammed into a car occupied by Kristopher Martin, 33, and Laura Sheard, 26, in the 11000 block of Lake City Way on the afternoon of Nov. 13, 2011. Witnesses said Habeeb's SUV pushed the smaller car for an entire block and the collision could be heard like an explosion blocks away.

"Laura and Kris has almost every bone in their body broken," said Amada Ryan, Laura's sister. "And their bodies burned beyond recognition while Daniel Habeeb was able to walk away from his vehicle a second time with minor cuts and bruises."

The collision also injured an 11-year-old friend of Habeeb's daughter, who was in his car, prosecutors said. Habeeb's 10-year-old daughter was not seriously injured. Habeeb himself sustained minor cuts and bruises.

In sentencing Habeeb to four years in prison, the judge went beyond the two-year sentence recommended by prosecutors, which would have allowed him to go free with credit for time served. After hearing from victim families, the judge gave the 45-year-old the maximum four-year term.

The 2011 crash marked the second time that Habeeb had been involved in a collision that killed another driver.

In 2009, Vera Cook and her friend were sitting in a car when another car driven by Habeeb smashed into them, police said.

Cook's friend, Susan Peek, was killed in the crash. But prosecutors could not pursue a vehicular homicide charge as Habeeb was diagnosed as psychotic at the time of the crash. Habeeb was instead placed on probation, committed to a psychiatric ward and never spent a day in jail.