Woman Convicted In Friend's Death Gets Probation

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Updated: 2/24/2012 11:13 pm
   "It was Cierra who received the death penalty.  It was Cierra who paid the ultimate price.  And, try as I might, there's nothing I can do that will change that fact," says Charles James, Cierra James' father.

     22-year-old Cierra James was killed in a car crash on Old Richmond Road in May 2009. 

     "She will always be there with us," explains Charles.
    
     Cierra's friend, Meredith Browning, was the driver of that car.  Last summer, she  plead guilty to reckless homicide and driving under the influence of alcohol while underage.  She was 20 at the time of the crash.  Browning was sentenced to 3 years in prison but Friday, a Fayette County judge gave her 5 years shock probation and she must serve 100 hours of community service each of those years.  Browning told the judge that she wants to spend that time talking to high school students about the dangers of alcohol.

     "I want to talk to them, tell them, you know, just don't get caught up in a good time with your friends because something can happen to you.  You know, there's a possibility that, you know, this could happen to you and you could end up in my situation and change people's lives forever," comments Browning.

     Cierra's family hugged and comforted one another outside the courtroom after the judge's ruling.

     "I can only hope that my daughter's up there looking down and saying, 'Dad, it's going to be alright.  This is good.'  I'm hoping that's what she would be saying," says Charles.

     And Cierra's father says he would like to go with Browning, so students could hear how this tragedy changed his life too.

     "I certainly would not mind the opportunity, if I had a chance, to accompany on these things and have the story told by both of us.  So, that kids know the impact on families when they do that," explains Charles.

     Under the terms of the probation, Browning must also undergo drug and alcohol testing.  She was also ordered to get a job or go back to school.
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