Woman pleads guilty in fatal drunk driving case

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Thu, June 5 2014 at 5:24 PM, Updated: Thu, June 5 2014 at 10:21 PM

Medford, Ore. -- There were tears in court on Thursday as a Shady Cove woman pleaded guilty to driving drunk and causing a crash that killed her passenger and friend.

It happened back in November on Rogue River Drive.

43-year-old Debra Gibbs said she was trying to do the right thing. According to Judge Lorenzo Mejia who is familiar with the case, Gibbs said Michael Johnson was more inebriated than she was, so she took the wheel.

Gibbs pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide and driving under the influence of intoxicants.

Prosecutors say her blood alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit.

Gibbs was remorseful in court and read a letter she wrote to Johnson's family.

"It will never be enough to say I'm sorry. There are no words to describe the unbearable despair I feel inside," said Gibbs.

Gibbs was sentenced to 55 months in prison, with three years post-prison supervision. Her drivers license was also permanently revoked.

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About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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