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Woman pleads guilty to DUI crash that killed teenager, stepfather

A 64-year-old woman accused of crashing her car into a family of five waiting at a bus stop, killing a teenage boy and his stepfather, pleaded guilty on Monday to DUI.

Cynthia Phelps told District Judge Ronald Israel that she was pleading guilty to two counts of DUI resulting in death and one count of DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm. Police said Phelps was driving her Kia Rio the wrong way on Boulder Highway on April 17 when she crashed into the family, who were standing on the sidewalk by a bus stop near Sahara Avenue.

Phelps told police that she thought she had a seizure and couldn’t remember the crash, according to an arrest report. The report noted she had a “strong odor” of alcohol following the crash.

She was also accused of accelerating about 20 mph over the 45 mph speed limit, and police said she did not try to brake before crashing into the bus stop.

Robert Higgins, 42, was killed along with his 14-year-old stepson, Erik McPherson, who was a student at Cortney Junior High School. The boy’s mother, Amber Reedy, was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries following the crash.

The woman’s two other children, a 11-year-old girl and a 8-year-old boy, were also seriously injured in the crash.

Phelps wore headphones in order to hear during Monday’s court hearing. She spoke through a microphone when she told the judge she understood the charges she was pleading to.

Israel said she faces a sentence of two to 20 years in prison, plus a fine of $2,000 to $5,000, for each DUI count. The judge will determine if Phelps will serve the sentences at the same time, or consecutively.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 19.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240.

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