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Woman gets 8 years in fatal crash

A 49-year-old woman was sent to prison Monday after she pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a hit-and-run that killed a 15-year-old boy.

Cathy Humphries, previously from Kentucky, was sentenced to a total of eight years in prison and had her driver’s license revoked for life, according to proceedings in the Logan County Common Pleas Court. She will also be required to pay a $500 fine and pay more than $13,450 to the Houser family and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

Humphries pleaded guilty on April 15 to charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, failing to stop after a crash and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Investigators said Humphries allegedly had a blood-alcohol content three times the legal limit and was also high on marijuana when she struck and killed Austin Houser with her Ford Ranger about 5 p.m. Oct. 25.

The teen’s body was found in a ditch three days after the crash and investigators linked debris at the scene to Humphries’ vehicle.

Houser was walking home along Ohio 274 in Rushsylvania and was well off the roadway when he was struck, sheriff’s officials said.

Humphries didn’t stop after the crash and Houser’s body was spotted in the ditch by a passerby. His mother didn’t report him missing until Friday when he didn’t show up for school. Authorities said she originally believed he was staying at a friend’s house.

Before learning her fate, Humphries said she hopes to become a counselor once out of prison and advise others on the dangers of drinking and driving.

“Every morning when I wake up and my feet hit the floor, I know I am the cause of this horrible tragedy. I am devastated and constantly feel so much guilt,” she said.

Ellena Houser, Austin’s mother, said she can never rid herself of the image of Austin in the ditch for two days. Prosecutor Eric Stewart said it’s still unknown if he died instantly in the crash.

Knowing the driver will be in prison brings little comfort, Ellena Houser said, because she believes the sentence is inadequate for the crime. She said she wants lawmakers to make stiffer penalties for those who kill someone while drinking and driving.

“Let it be your child’s life and then you’ll realize these 10 to 11 years … is not good enough,” she said.

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