A former Las Vegas stripper was sentenced to between five and 15 years in prison Tuesday for a 2013 DUI crash that killed a man and injured his toddler son.
Shauna Miller, 28, crashed a 2003 Hummer into a 1997 Ford Escort driven by 33-year-old James White, who was killed. His 2-year-old son suffered minor injuries.
Miller pleaded guilty in July to driving under the influence of alcohol resulting in death and substantial bodily harm.
“The harm the defendant caused to the victim and his family could not have been any greater,” prosecutor Charles Martinovsky said.
During an emotional and packed court hearing Tuesday, a shackled Miller, wearing dark blue jail fatigues, begged White’s family for forgiveness.
“I’m really sorry for your loss,” Miller said, turning toward them in the courtroom gallery. “I never wanted to hurt you guys, and I’m very, very sorry. Not only did I take a family apart, I know that a father is not involved in his son’s life anymore, and that kills me every day.”
She stood wringing her hands next to her lawyer, Sean Sullivan, who said she has been in jail for the past 18 months, contemplating her actions. The blonde hair seen in her mug shot taken after her March 2013 arrest has since turned dark brown, except for the tips.
White’s family, several of whom sobbed throughout the 20-minute hearing, asked District Judge Valorie Vega for the maximum sentence.
“You want forgiveness?” said White’s mother, Laverna Prugh. “Not in this lifetime, Shauna Miller. Not ever.”
Miller told investigators she took Xanax and drank two beers at work overnight at Spearmint Rhino, a strip club. The crash occurred at the intersection of Spring Mountain and Wynn roads, Las Vegas police said.
Miller was under the legal limit for alcohol on her preliminary breath test, although some alcohol registered, according to an arrest report. She failed her field sobriety test, police said.
At the sentencing hearing, Martinovsky said another test registered Miller’s blood-alcohol level at 0.196 percent, more than twice the legal limit, and she had marijuana in her system. At the scene, Miller sprayed perfume “all over herself,” Martinovsky said.
White’s fiancee, Rachel Sidor, said at the time that he had just dropped her off at work and was on his way home to feed their son breakfast.
Miller drove through a red light, without attempting to brake, and there were no tire marks at the intersection, according to the prosecutor, though Miller said the light was yellow. She had six prior traffic violations.
The judge also ordered Miller to pay more than $40,000 in fines and restitution. For three years after being released from prison, Miller would be required to drive with an alcohol monitoring device.
“You have to consider the consequences before you act,” Vega said.
With credit for time served in the Clark County Detention Center, Miller would be eligible for parole in three-and-a-half years, her lawyer said.
White’s family has filed a lawsuit against the former dancer and the club where she performed, saying Miller “acted with malice and a conscious disregard for the rights and safety” of the victims.
“I can’t express in words how this has affected our lives,” White’s stepfather, Clifford Prugh said. “At some point, we’ve got to stop this senseless act.”
The lawsuit accuses the gentlemen’s club of negligence for encouraging Miller to drink while at work with the understanding that she would later drive.
The suit also names Donald Puckett, who owned the Hummer, and Quick Valet LLC, which handed Miller the keys to the vehicle “in spite of Miller’s impeded condition.”
White’s family carried a 3-foot-tall framed photo of him into the courtroom Tuesday.
“Please look at him, can you?” Laverna Prugh said to Miller. “He was mine. He wasn’t yours to take.”
Contact reporter David Ferrara at email@example.com or 702-380-1039. Find him on Twitter: @randompoker.