Construction zone flagger death results in manslaughter plea

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – A Klamath Falls woman is headed to prison for more than 8 years for hitting and killing a flagger in a construction zone.

40-year-old Zahra Ix Gonzales pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree manslaughter Friday as part of a plea deal.

Gonzales hit and killed 45-year-old Daniel Wessel in June of 2019 on Highway 140 about 8 miles east of Klamath Falls.

Investigators say warning signs were posted for nearly 2 miles before the construction zone.

“She had served as a flagger herself for nearly two years,” Klamath County District Attorney Eve Costello said. “And, she was taking selfies. We were able to track it down to at least 44 seconds before the 911 call was made.”

Gonzales told police she had her cruise control set at 61 miles-per-hour prior to hitting Wessel.

Gonzales was sentenced to 100 months in prison.  She’ll have to serve at least 75 months of that sentence before being considered for good behavior and programs.

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