Teen Avoids Prison in Best Friend's Death

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    A girl who was behind the wheel when her best friend died learned her fate Monday.

    The teen defendant, who is not being identified because she is a juvenile, entered an admission of guilt to one charge of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.
      
    Poway teen Breanna Erickson died in May when her best friend crashed the car the pair was riding in on the Sabre Springs Parkway. There were three other teenagers in the car with them when the girl lost control of the vehicle, which was apparently speeding through a sharp curve, and crashed head-on into a truck. The four survivors were all injured; Breanna, 17, died moments later.

    Judge Carlos Armour addressed the court during Monday's hearing, the North County Times reported.

    "There's nothing we can do to set the clock back," Armour said. "There's going to be a lot of pain and suffering for a period of time."

    If the teen driver, who wept during Monday's court hearing, successfully completes her probation, she will be allowed to withdraw her admission of guilt and instead plea to a misdemeanor charge of vehicular manslaughter.

    In the wake of the crash, Breanna's parents spoke about their support for the surviving girl. In life, the pair were extremely close -- in fact, they were best friends since the third grade. Despite the tragic circumstances, Breanna's parents said they fully support the teen driver, who was hospitalized after the crash. She sat in a wheelchair during Monday's court proceedings, the paper reported.

    "I think a poor decision was made," said Breanna's stepfather, Mark Woody. "Regardless of the consequences, they are still our kids."

    Breanna's mother, Linda Woody, and stepfather said they have always thought of the teen driver as part of their family. In fact, during an interview the week after the wreck, the couple constantly referred to her as their daughter. The Woodys, who were preparing funeral services for Breanna at the time, actually went to visit her at the hospital.

    Breanna was a junior at Rancho Bernardo High School, where she was on the girl's swim team. Her parents said her lifelong dream was to become a pediatrician.