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Depew woman in prison for deadly crash

Posted at 12:40 PM, Apr 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-22 12:30:26-04

Sarah Skotnicki was sentenced the to the fullest extent of the law according to Erie County District Attorney Michael Flaherty. Skotnicki killed 72-year-old Carol Dion and severely injured her 24-year-old granddaughter Katrina Dion. 

On Thursday morning Judge Michalski handed down the maximum sentence of 1 1/3 year to 4 years in prison. Skotnicki was in tears as she apologized to the Dion family.

"I'm so sorry that we had to meet like this," said Skotnicki. 

In September of 2015 Skotnicki was driving 70 mph in a 30 mph speed zone on French Road in the Village of Depew. Skotnicki lost control of her truck and crashed head on with another car. 

Police say she was high on a chemical found in the household cleaner Endust. 

Skotnicki killed the driver of the car who was 72-year-old Dion. Dion's husband Gary Dion said his family has suffered a loss like no other. 

"My grade school sweetheart, a mother taken away form my three sons and my granddaughter who's in constant pain," said Dion. "Sleepless nights, her warm embrace I will never feel again."

The defense asked the judge to have mercy on Skotnicki but Michalski said "mercy isn't the word."

The defense said the night before the crash Skotnicki's husband tried killing himself and the stress is what led her to "huff" the household cleaner called Endust. which contains difloroethane - the chemical that got Skotnicki high. 

Skotnicki is now in prison for criminally negligent homicide. 

The DA said vehicular manslaughter doesn't apply to this case because there has to be proof the driver was under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. 

Difloroethane is in a household product so it's not on the states public health list as a controlled substance.  

Michalski said he wishes "there was more time" he could give but challenges in the lawrevented him from doing so. 

Skotnicki will be eligible for parole after serving her minimum sentence.