Driver receives sentence - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Driver receives sentence

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Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 12:15 am

COEUR d'ALENE - The driver who chased three Coeur d'Alene teenagers preceding a fatal 2010 car accident near Twin Falls pleaded guilty to reckless driving Tuesday.

Kade D. Laughlin, 21, of Filer, entered the plea in Fifth District Court in Twin Falls, and was sentenced to 180 days in jail, with 160 of those days suspended.

Of the remaining 20 days, Laughlin must serve 10 in jail, and the other 10 days can be fulfilled through community service, said Grant Loebs, Twin Falls prosecutor.

As part of his community service Laughlin will speak to youth about what happened Sept. 12, 2010, when Coeur d'Alene teenagers Devon Austin, 19, and Ryan Reinhardt, 18, died in a single-vehicle car accident around 1 a.m. on a rural road outside Twin Falls as they left a party at Laughlin's house.

A third Coeur d'Alene teenager, Jessica Duran, survived the wreck.

All of those involved were students at College of Southern Idaho. Austin was a star baseball player who had been drafted by the Chicago Cubs.

The mothers of the deceased boys were not allowed to read impact statements at the hearing, Magistrate Judge Nicole Cannon ruled.

Laughlin, with at least three passengers in his truck, chased the Coeur d'Alene teenagers following a verbal altercation at the party. But the judge ruled only victims could make statements, Loebs said. Only in homicide cases are family members of the deceased allowed to address the court, per state statute. According to investigation reports, Laughlin ended the chase before the accident occurred.

Laura Wilson, Reinhardt's mother, attended the hearing with Paula Austin, Devon Austin's mother. They said Laughlin and his attorney, Keith Roark, said before the hearing that they would proceed to trial rather than enter a plea and have the mothers read their statements.

The objection went to the judge, who ruled they shouldn't be allowed.

"It's just disappointing," Wilson said. "He can't even give us five minutes to talk ... There is still no accountability."

Laughlin was also ordered to pay $500 in fines, placed on two years probation, with one year supervised, and lost his driver's license for 30 days.

Loebs said the prosecution felt it was better to obtain the plea rather than drag the issue to trial, where the mothers still wouldn't be able to enter the statements.

"I was disappointed they weren't allowed to say something," he said, adding that the statements, which addressed moving on in the face of tragedy, were "very classy, very considerate, and very appropriate" given the circumstances.

"I think it would have helped the mothers," he said. "I think they would have felt better if they would have been able to do that."

Reached by phone Tuesday afternoon, Laughlin said he didn't want to comment on a case that's received media attention.

"I don't want to jeopardize anything," he said.

Roark could not be reached Tuesday.

According to an Idaho State Police collision reconstruction report, Reinhardt, the driver of the Camry car being pursued, failed to navigate a curve while traveling at least 94 mph on rural 3900 N Road as it intersected with U.S. Highway 30.

His blood alcohol level was .19. The legal limit is .08, and the legal drinking age is 21.

Duran, the lone survivor, identified later that Laughlin had been chasing their vehicle. Later that morning, Twin Falls County Sheriff's deputies arrested Laughlin for driving under the influence of alcohol.

As part of that sentence, Laughlin was ordered to pay $582.50, given one year probation, and work detail in lieu of jail.

Since that arrest, Laughlin has been sentenced to eight days in jail for violating probation with alcohol offenses. He was caught with beer or consuming beer on two separate occasions, according to Twin Falls court records.

Wilson's statement, forwarded to The Press, said she believes Laughlin never intended to cause a fatal accident that night, but his "reckless behavior" resulted in one.

"Because of his actions, that is what happened. More disturbing than this is his continued reckless behavior. Since that night Kade Laughlin has had several run-ins with the law resulting in little or no accountability," the statement read.

"There's no closure at all," Wilson said in a phone interview. "If (Laughlin) had an ounce of remorse he would have had us stand up and have us read our statements ... They took that away from us too."

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  • gold berg posted at 11:40 pm on Fri, Jan 6, 2012.

    gold berg Posts: 21

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  • RjusticeA posted at 8:05 pm on Fri, Jan 6, 2012.

    RjusticeA Posts: 2

    I am not here to cause problems. lexacon that is the statement I gave as Im sure the others did as well becasue it is the truth. vicki Kade is a good kid, but that is just it he is a 21 year old child who has to learn from his mistakes as does everyone else in this world, and I have lost someone very close to me to a drinking and driving accident much like the accident you lost your grandson to. I feel for you and your family. truely and sincerly.

  • lexacon posted at 2:29 pm on Fri, Jan 6, 2012.

    lexacon Posts: 80

    What is more interesting RjusticeA is that your "statements" are not what others told police and detectives who investigated the crime.......seems you have some splaining to do?

  • Vicki Adamson posted at 1:46 pm on Fri, Jan 6, 2012.

    Vicki Adamson Posts: 1

    RjusticeA, I feel compelled to make some comments on your discussion. Bad decisions were made on the night of Ryan and Devon's death. But, if as you stated that 'Kade is a good kid who made a bad decision and is paying for it" is accurate. Why since the night of the accident has he continued to make bad decisions? These decisions are a matter of public record not accusations.

    As to coming to peace, how do two families who have lost their sons go about doing that? All the Mothers wanted is maybe being a little closer to some closure. The felt that were denied that chance by not be able to read their statements.

    May the Grace of God never allow you to feel the pain of loss that Ryan and Deon's family are feeling.

    Proud to be Ryan Reinhardts' Grandmother,
    Vicki Adamson

  • RjusticeA posted at 10:02 pm on Thu, Jan 5, 2012.

    RjusticeA Posts: 2

    Im sorry for the loss of Devon and Ryan. Having witnessed the altercation at the "party" i no that they had many chances to leave the "party", a total of 3 times when they drove away came back threw trash and cursed. I feel as though people have such a hard time believing such good kids could make a bad decision but it was made. As with Kade he is a good kid who made a bad decision and is paying for it. Not only by what the law has given him but emotionaly, as are we all. i understand the mothers stories should be heard but what about ours. I hope everyone can come to peace with this and we can all learn. I myself have lost many to drinking and driving. This is the reason we have such stiff rules on it, as the Idaho State Police explains"You drink You drive You Lose"

  • lexacon posted at 3:43 pm on Thu, Jan 5, 2012.

    lexacon Posts: 80

    It's unfortunate that some of you are unable to be privileged to the information presented at different times during this investigation.

    However, there are many items that were not presented to the public that could have had a very large impact on the sentencing. It is almost like the Judge disregarded any Grand Jury testimony from the other parties involved, as well as those others who came in contact with Kade and the other individuals in his vehicle after the accident that "NIGHT." Such is the case as to why he was initial stopped that night. He eluded police, which gave probable cause for a Felony stop! There is quite a bit of interesting information, and slowly it will all come out, trust me!

  • CONFUSED posted at 12:43 pm on Thu, Jan 5, 2012.

    CONFUSED Posts: 67

    How ironic to accuse us of hiding behind our monitors and screen names, is that your real name anythingeverything? If memeory serves me correct they said they weren't at the party very long before all everything went south, so one could assume they showed up having already been drinking somewhere else to get a BAC that high, if only being there a short period of time. You are correct in that we weren't there, but Jessica was and again if memory serves me, she has been very coy in giving out information, only enough to make them all look like victims. I'm not saying that it wasn't a tragedy and I hope I never have to deal with the loss of a child. I'm just tired of the shrines, memorials, vigils, and putting them all up on pedestals.

  • anythingeverything posted at 9:54 am on Thu, Jan 5, 2012.

    anythingeverything Posts: 13

    Confused: the Austins had to name Ryan in their lawsuit for insurance purposes because he was the driver. Both families are very much there for each other and always will be. Its an unfortunate bond that no one will ever understand, nor does either mother want anyone to ever go through what they are going through right now.

    I'm curious, for all of you blaming Ryan in this instance, tell me what would you do if you were out numbered and being threatened? Would you stand there and tempt fate, or would you attempt to leave even if you had to disregard your BAC? None of us know the amount that the three of them were being harassed, but it appears to be enough that they felt scared and in harms way. Then they make the decision to leave (could have been a poor decision but we'll never know will we?) but all three felt in enough danger to get in that car together, they could have stayed behind if they didn't feel as though they were in danger. Continually, Mr. Laughlin and his cohorts get in their truck and CHASE them? That's taking the harassment to an entirely other level in a very real and scary way. If you were Ryan would you slow down, stop and hope that you can talk it out, or would you realize that Mr. Laughlin is apparently serious and attempting to hurt you and do what you can to get away?

    There are so many factors here that contribute the what ifs of the scenario but the point is that IF Mr. Laughlin and his group weren't threatening these three, they may have never gotten in the car. IF Mr. Laughlin weren't chasing them in his truck and swerving towards their smaller vehicle, they may have never reached such speeds. While he may have not been intending to cause their deaths the facts remain that everyone's poor decisions inevitably lead there. Yes the three should have never gotten in that car especially while drinking but their actions were caused out of fear; fight or flight whereas Mr. Laughlins actions were seemingly from anger and malice. That right there is the difference between victim and responsible party.

    Just Saying- were you by chance at the scene to know for sure what took place? Don't be so certain that Mr. Laughlin did in fact disengage from the chase as soon as he says he did.. its his word against theirs and it will most likely never be proven either way.

    Both boys were full of promise. Both boys were beloved members of their school and their community. Both boys are terribly, terribly missed and will never come home to their families. No amount of What If's, Blame, or Finger Pointing will ever change that.

    As you write your comments through the comfort of your screen name and safety of your computer screen, please remember that everyone is still hurting. I hope you never feel even an ounce of pain that everyone involved continue to feel to this day.

  • babydriver posted at 9:06 am on Thu, Jan 5, 2012.

    babydriver Posts: 1393

    Welcome to Amerika, Rolling! Land of the free (cough), home of the brave.

  • CONFUSED posted at 7:39 am on Thu, Jan 5, 2012.

    CONFUSED Posts: 67

    I thought I was the only one who was a little tired of ALL 3 CDA kids being treated as innocent victims, yes, unfortunatly 2 boys lost their lives, but ALL involved had a part in this tragedy. It's funny how the BAC of Devon and Jessica is never mentioned, is the CDA press not reporting because Devon's mom works for the city? I also find it odd that not too long ago Devon's mom sued and or is suing Ryan's parents, but they act all buddy buddy together. Food for thought.

  • lyric21 posted at 8:16 pm on Wed, Jan 4, 2012.

    lyric21 Posts: 115

    I think Laughlin should have been given a stiffer sentence because his irresponsible behavior COULD have killed or injured an INNOCENT person. Reinhardt however, was NOT an innocent person. I was outraged at first when I heard that the moms were not allowed to speak, but then I realized that if 18 yr old Ryan Reinhardt had not had a BAC of .19, he might have negotiated that curve! And had Ryan and Devon been WEARING SEAT BELTS, they might have survived! AND because Ryan was driving under the influence, he could have killed an innocent person! I am in NO way excusing the scum Laughlin, but Ryan's and Devon's moms have NO right to be indignant. Ryan could have killed someone and Devon (AND Jessica) were accomplices, because they allowed a drunk to drive.

  • rollingthunder posted at 7:50 pm on Wed, Jan 4, 2012.

    rollingthunder Posts: 352

    Looks like you get in more trouble for making some ethnic comment than killing someone. WOW!!

  • Just Sayin posted at 5:43 pm on Wed, Jan 4, 2012.

    Just Sayin Posts: 1

    I do not understand why all the negative comments are directed to Laughlin instead of the person that was responsible for Devon Austons death - Ryan Reinhardt. Lets not forget Mr. Reinhardt was travelling 94 mph WITH a blood alcohol level of .19. Mr. Laughlin dis-engaged from the chase. Ryan Reinhardt continued on. His actions left the Auston family with a very empty spot in their life.

    Although I do feel for both mother's of the deceased - Ryan Reinhardt's mother needs to understand her sons actions took the life of a very promissing young man.

  • babydriver posted at 12:05 pm on Wed, Jan 4, 2012.

    babydriver Posts: 1393

    Not enough info here to form much of an opinion. Wasn't everybody drinking? under the influence?

  • n8ividan posted at 11:22 am on Wed, Jan 4, 2012.

    n8ividan Posts: 17

    Wow, what a waste.... I bet Laughlin's mom is super proud. The mother's of the diseased should have been allowed to have their say. It may not have altered sentencing but it would have given them closure. I hope that a news outlet will give them airtime to read their statements. Maybe the press would like to print their statements for them?

  • lexacon posted at 8:59 am on Wed, Jan 4, 2012.

    lexacon Posts: 80

    "Laughlin was also ordered to pay $500 in fines, placed on two years probation, with one year supervised, and lost his driver's license for 30 days."

    He could have received six-months, 1000/fine and a license suspension.

    This kid has the justice system wrapped around his finger. He was charged with a DUI related to this accident on 9/12/2010 and received 2 days in Jail and $582.50 in fines. On 8/16/2011 he was served with a probation violation and a Warrant for consuming alcohol while on probation for the DUI. He was ordered to pay another fine and and ordered to serve another year on probation. Now, in the last year he is charged with reckless driving, a charge related to the accident that caused the death of two young men while at the same time endangering the lives of passengers in his own vehicle and he receives 10 days in jail. Something isn't right!

  • lexacon posted at 8:42 am on Wed, Jan 4, 2012.

    lexacon Posts: 80

    There are people who are very lucky this family doesn't live in Twin Falls!

  • DeNiles posted at 6:38 am on Wed, Jan 4, 2012.

    DeNiles Posts: 2450

    No DUI for Laughlin? What is the maximum sentence for reckless driving? Onto civil court.

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