MEDFORD, Ore. — Leta Schroeder was scheduled for a plea change Thursday in Jackson County Court. The District Attorney’s Office announced Schroeder entered a guilty plea to criminally negligent homicide and four counts of failure to perform duties of a driver in regards to an injured person.
Schroeder was sentenced to 46 months in the Oregon Department of Corrections, and supervised for three years following her release from prison. She is also required to pay restitution for the damages she caused.
This past July, Schroeder ran a red light at the intersection of Highway 62 and Highway 99, traveling between 50 and 60 mph. She collided with a van in which seven occupants were on their way to work in. Three of the men were ejected from the van upon the collision and one of the occupants, Efren Vargas-Urena, was killed. Arnulfo Anaya-Jiminez and Dimas Gevani Rodriguez were injured. Shroeder immediately fled the scene and evidence had shown that she had been under the influence of controlled substances, including methamphetamine, prior to the crash.
Ms. Schroeder was not approached by authorities and arrested until nearly 14 hours after the incident took place. She complained of injury and was taken to the hospital where she was found to be uninjured. A urinalysis procedure done while she was there indicated the presence of amphetamines, cannabinoids, opiates and oxycodone. However, because of the lag time between authorities taking her into custody and the incident, the state was unable to determine if those substances were impairing Schroeder at the time of the crash.
Schroeder was uncooperative with police and hospital staff, first denying any involvement in the accident at all, before finally admitting she had been the driver of the vehicle which struck the van and also had fled the scene. Additional investigation proved that she had been the driver and was responsible for the crash.
Sharon Ko contributed to this report.