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Lanie Richardson Sentenced to 14 Years for Car-Surfing Death

Friends and Family of Allison Meadows Attend Hearing


Thursday, January 9, 2014
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Lanie Richardson, the driver in a 2012 “car surfing” tragedy that killed one woman and injured another on East Valley Road, was sentenced Thursday to 14 years in state prison. In September, Richardson, 30, accepted a plea deal, under which an original charge of second-degree murder — for the death of 26-year-old Allison Meadows — was dismissed and Richardson pleaded no contest to felony gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and misdemeanor driving on a suspended license for a prior DUI conviction. As part of the agreement, Richardson also admitted to the special allegation of inflicting great bodily injury to the surviving woman, Lindsay Keebler, and to having a prior felony conviction on his record and serving time in prison.

Lanie Tyrone Richardson
Click to enlarge photo

Lanie Tyrone Richardson

Richardson’s sentencing hearing was heavily attended, with Meadows’s family and friends there, as well as District Attorney Joyce Dudley and several lawyers from her office. The courtroom was silent as photos of Meadows throughout her life were shown in a video, with songs including “I Will Remember You” by Sarah McLachlan playing in the background. A statement from Meadows’s mother, Lynn Rivera, was then read by Deputy District Attorney Von Nguyen, who handled the case.

“I have had my heart and soul mutilated,” Rivera wrote, noting that Meadows was her only biological daughter. “Our family gatherings will never be complete again,” she continued, saying that Meadows’s loved ones miss her “humor, smiles, and hopefulness.” Rivera’s statement ended with remarks for Richardson, saying that Meadows’s loved ones hope that “the other parties involved change the course of their lives.”

Judge Jean Dandona, after handing down the sentence, also wished Richardson well in the future. “Mr. Richardson, good luck to you,” she said, adding that what happened was “indeed a tragedy for everyone.” Richardson spoke briefly, directing his comments to Meadows’s family. “I am truly sorry for what happened during this tragedy,” he said. “I hope they accept that.”

On the morning of June 6, 2012, after a night of reported drinking and cocaine use, Richardson, Meadows, Keebler, and Connor Clowers decided to go “car surfing” — sitting atop the hood of a car as it travels at high speeds — on East Valley Road, where there is a bump known to provide passengers with the sensation of riding a rollercoaster. Clowers would go on to tell authorities what happened, saying that Meadows and Keebler (25 years old at the time), rode on Richardson’s SUV while he drove over the bump three times at about 40 miles per hour. Clowers, who hadn’t been in the car during the first round, got back in when he thought they were done, but the three decided to do it once more. The fourth time, Richardson drove over the bump at 70-92 miles per hour, causing the women to fly off the car in different directions. Meadows skidded more than 200 feet and died of head injuries at the scene.

After the incident, Richardson and Clowers lied to police about their role in what happened, saying that they were Good Samaritans who happened upon the two women. Believing their story, the police didn’t check Richardson for alcohol, but Clowers later admitted to lying and witnesses would go on to attest to Richardson’s pre-accident drug and alcohol use.

After pleading in September, Richardson had his sentencing postponed until January to allow him, while remaining in custody, time to visit with his children. Jeff Chambliss, Richardson’s attorney, said that he has a young son and daughter.

Richardson’s 14-year sentence will be shaved down by nearly two years for credit for time served. How much restitution he will pay to Meadows’s family and to Keebler will be determined at a future date, Nguyen said, adding that once he is released, Richardson’s driving privileges will be determined by the DMV and that this conviction will count as the first strike on his record.

Janet Carroll
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Paul Wellman

Janet Carroll

Janet Carroll, a friend who Meadows was living with at the time of her death, said after the sentencing that Meadows’s family and friends are glad that Richardson apologized. “The words came out, ‘I’m sorry,’” she said. She also referenced other recent tragedies — the deaths of Mallory Dies and Linda Wall — that involved alleged driving while intoxicated. “It’s the responsibility of the person who’s driving,” she said. “People need to make better choices. Period.”

Comments

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Thesaurus-aided ragepost from Draxor in 3, 2, 1, ...

eightdolphins (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2014 at 2:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh, so now not only are you picking on the Drax, but you're now down to 8 dolphins? Dude...

blahblahmoreblah (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2014 at 4:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Blah, I will get serious for a minute and tell you that eightdolphins and I are not the same person, and I do not know who he/she is.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2014 at 6:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So much for the "Justice is Blind" idea. The DA and her staff show up to intimidate the court which allows the viewing of a video with sound? What's next, an in court wake with flowers and food? Would this sort of stuff have been presented had the victim been some local eastsider? This sort of corruption threatens all of our future and belies centuries of trying to keep the courtroom factual and fair. Sad.

RHS (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2014 at 10:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

“It’s the responsibility of the person who’s driving,” she said. “People need to make better choices. Period.”

I agree and would add, that includes your friend. I'm sorry she is dead, but she was a willing participant in a stupid activity that went horribly wrong. He needed a better lawyer. There was no way he deserved 14 years for this. DA overreached and got away with it.

Carpreader (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2014 at 11:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The girl already was given the death sentence. She's dead. She paid for her part, with her life. You do understand that, right?

The driver pays with 14yrs. Please explain how his responsibility as the driver does not warrant this?

cartoonz (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2014 at 11:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

God save us from stupid people is all I have to say cartoonz.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2014 at 11:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

In the middle of the night you decide it's going to be "fun" to stand and

surf on a car at high speed on a country highway......while you are at it

why not play "dodge-ball" with high-speed traffic on U.S. 101,jumping

over cars as they come.....does it make any sense at all? any?what-

soever?How can there be blame for such stupidity?

schnook (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2014 at 10:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I have to agree- if you are going to drink and do cocaine, which makes you feel like Superman at times....it might be best not to sit on the hood of a car with an inebriented driver and drive over a "bump" 4 times.

I understand the family feels there is no justice, but blaming him for driving a car is ridiculous. She was over 21 and capable of making her own decisions....even poor ones.

I intend on sharing this with my child, many times over. I too have had my experiences with car surfing, both as the driver and as the rider in the back of a pick-up truck. I often think back on how many times I risked my neck & others for that matter....

I hope time heals your pain.

losolivoslocal (anonymous profile)
January 12, 2014 at 12:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Blaming him for driving a car is ridiculous"???

Seriously? That might be a valid point if the driver of the car was just driving down the road, minding his own business, and some coked up drunk chick leaped out in front of his car in the dark and got killed.

But that's NOT at all what happened here. I'll recap the facts for you:

The driver of the car and his friends decided to party their brains out.
They then all decided it was somehow a great idea to go car surfing over the bumps, which they do several times at ~40mph.
They do it one last fateful time, this time the driver almost doubles the speed. Result: Death and destruction.

Were the girls idiots for making the choices they did? Of course.

But the driver... you want to give the driver a pass? That's insane. The driver made the choice to drive while wasted. The driver also made the choice not only to allow such stupidity, he participated in it. It could also easily be argued that his decision to make the last run at 70+mph was the direct cause of the fatal result.

No. The driver was admittedly plastered. Without his participation, the whole stupid thing would not have even been possible. He made several bad decisions.

That is why he is gets 14yrs, He is responsible.

"oh, but she was stupid... she shouldn't have done it.. .she.. .she...etc."

Yes, and "She", Alison Meadows was already punished.
She's DEAD.

cartoonz (anonymous profile)
January 12, 2014 at 11:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I never said he should get a pass. Yes, he should do time.

Carpreader (anonymous profile)
January 12, 2014 at 11:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Carpreader you're absolutely right. 14 years is astounding! The only reason he was handed that sentence is because he's a black man, and he committed this "crime" and good ol' "white" valley road.

Yes he should do time, but 14 years? First Degree Murder offenders have been paroled after serving that length of time.

A true tragedy that this woman passed indeed. But the responsibility was hers to share equally.

ps: isn't car surfing when nobody gets hurt a moving violation in the eyes of the DMV and police?

calicaledonia (anonymous profile)
January 15, 2014 at 7:41 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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