Oregon woman who fled to Canada sentenced for 1997 hit-and-run

A former Oregon woman who fled the state 15 years ago after being charged with manslaughter and driving under the influence has been apprehended and was sentenced recently in state court. The woman, Jean Keating, had been living in Canada under an assumed name, according to news reports.

Keating was charged in connection to a 1997 crash Albany, Oregon. Authorities say she sideswiped another vehicle while driving her station wagon on Interstate 5, causing the other car to cross the median and collide with an oncoming vehicle. A 65-year-old woman was killed in the crash.

Keating was facing criminal charges in connection to the crash, but she failed to appear for a court appearance in March 1998 and authorities were unable to locate her until she was recently discovered in Manitoba, Canada.

Tip led police to Oregon woman living in Canada

According to a report by The Oregonian, law enforcement authorities in Canada had received a tip from someone who said they had heard a woman in a bar claiming that she had caused a fatal crash in the U.S. many years earlier and gotten away with it. In April 2013, according to the report, authorities matched Keating’s fingerprints with those in a U.S. database and she was detained at the airport.

In September 2013, Keating pleaded no contest in an Oregon court to manslaughter and intoxicated driving. As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped additional charges for reckless driving and reckless endangerment. A Linn County Circuit Court judge sentenced Keating to 75 months in prison for manslaughter and 12 months in prison for intoxicated driving. The sentences will be served concurrently, and Keating will also be subject to supervision for three years following her release.

Fatal crashes involving DUI in Oregon

In addition to potential charges for DUI and reckless driving, people who are involved in fatal accidents while driving under the influence of alcohol in Oregon may be charged with a number of other serious criminal offenses, such as criminal homicide, aggravated vehicular homicide or manslaughter. The specific charges may vary depending on a number of different factors, such as:

  • Whether the driver behaved in a negligent or reckless manner that demonstrates an extreme indifference to human life.
  • Whether the driver knowingly or intentionally caused the death of another person.
  • Whether the driver has been convicted of manslaughter in the past.

In the event that you or a loved one is charged with DUI or any other criminal offense relating to a vehicle crash in Oregon, it is critical that you seek advice from a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer to help protect your rights and defend against the charges.