A drunk driver who killed an Olathe school instructor in a 2016 traffic crash was sentenced Wednesday to more than nine years in prison.
James R. McAllister, 29, of Overland Park, pleaded guilty in September to a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the death of 24-year-old Caitlin Vogel of Stilwell.
McAllister was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the wreck. He has two prior DUI convictions, according to court documents, and also pleaded guilty to driving a vehicle without without the ignition interlock device he was required to have.
The wreck occurred on May 31, 2016, at the intersection of 191st Street and Nall Avenue when McAllister ran a stop sign and his SUV broad-sided the sedan driven by Vogel.
On Wednesday, a Johnson County judge followed a plea agreement and sentenced McAllister to nine years and seven months in prison.
He was given credit for the 505 days he has spent in jail since the wreck.
Vogel worked with special needs children as an autism instructional assistant for the Olathe school district.
She was described in court Wednesday as a young woman with a “special gift” for working with children.
“She wanted to help so many people,” her mother, Patti Vogel, told the judge. “She wanted to help all of the special children with autism. She had a patience I can’t even describe.”
McAllister did not speak before he was sentenced. His attorney, Tyler Garretson, said that McAllister’s remorse was “100 percent legitimate.”
Friends and family of Caitlin Vogel said after the sentencing that they are pushing Kansas lawmakers to pass a law to toughen penalties for those convicted of similar crimes.
If it becomes law, it would be known as Caitlin’s Law, they said.
While McAllister will be free after serving “next to nothing,” Vogel is “gone for life,” neighbor and friend Blair Gordon said.