Jack Dean Whiteaker convicted in vehicular-related death of Cayla Wilson
Nine years after a car crash in Gresham put a a pregnant teen in a vegetative state, the man driving the Jeep that hit her has been convicted of recklessly causing her death.
Jack Dean Whiteaker, who is serving an 11-year sentence based on the fatal crash in April 2010 on Southeast Jenne Road, changed his plea and was convicted of recklessly causing Cayla Wilson's death, Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill announced on Thursday, Oct. 31.
According to the plea petition filed in Multmomah County court, Whiteaker is expected to receive a 16-year prison sentence and will be on three years of post-prison supervision.
Whiteaker, 61, was prosecuted and convicted in 2010 for what was then the assault of Wilson in a two-vehicle crash on April 15, 2010. Wilson died on March 30, 2018, at 27 years old as a result of injuries she sustained.
At the time of the crash, she was pregnant. Her daughter is now 9 years old.
Whiteaker was high on meth and speeding, investigators with the East Multnomah County Vehicular Crash Team determined, when his Jeep veered across the center line of Jenne Road and slid into Wilson's Buick, regained traction and drove over the top of the Buick.
Whiteaker's vehicle tore open and crushed the driver's side of Wilson's vehicle. She sustained critical brain injuries. Her baby was delivered by C-section about two months after the crash, while Wilson remained in a vegetative state at the hospital before her death from complications of her injuries.
Wilson, who was 19 years old at the time of the crash, was lawfully traveling northbound in her lane, investigators determined.
The initial ruling in 2012 sentenced Whiteaker to 11 years in prison, the maximum allowed for his convictions — driving while under the influence and assault. During his sentencing Whiteaker made repeated outbursts in the courtroom, yelling "I didn't do it."
Wilson's family sued after the crash, saying Whiteaker's probation officer and a police officer who encountered him hours before the crash should not have allowed him on the road.
In 2014 the family was awarded $9.3 million by a jury — $4.8 million from Clackamas County Corrections and the rest from the city of Portland. At the time, Outlook media partner KOIN 6 News was told the money would help take care of Wilson and her daughter.
Upon Wilson's death, prosecutors re-visited the case and indicted Whiteaker on a manslaughter charge.
The court in October convicted Whiteaker of one count first-degree manslaughter while under the influence of methamphetamine. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 6.
The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office expects Wilson's family to attend the hearing, when victim impact statements may be presented to the court.
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