A driver who struck and killed six teenagers who were picking up trash along a highway in 2000 has appealed for early release on parole after serving 18 years in a Nevada prison, a report said Tuesday.
Authorities say Jessica Williams, 38, had fallen asleep at the wheel and was traveling at 75 miles per hour when her vehicle hit the teens in March 2000, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
A blood test found she had traces of marijuana in her system, the report said. But Williams disputed that claim Tuesday.
"I don't believe I was under the influence at all and I believe at my trial we proved that," Williams said, according to Fox 5 Vegas. "What I did was wrong, but what I did was fall asleep."
Williams was sentenced in 2001 to serve 18 to 45 years in prison for each victim. She has spent nearly half her life behind bars.
She is now living in transitional housing and serving time for the fifth of her six convictions. Williams made a plea to the Nevada Parole Board on Tuesday for a fifth early release after being granted parole on first four. She still has her fifth and sixth convictions to resolve before her release, Las Vegas Now reported.
Commissioners will decide on Williams’ parole March 14, but she will still need to serve time for her sixth conviction.
John Glenn Watkins, her attorney, said the ruling would shorten the time Williams would serve for her sixth conviction, but was unsure of the exact amount of time, the Review-Journal reported.
Williams told commissioners she earned an associate’s degree in prison, is working toward a bachelor’s, and is even considering a master’s in business, the report said.
She said she has been sober for 18 years, plans to attend church and participate in 12-step programs, Fox 5 Vegas reported.
When commissioners asked her what she would say to families of her victims, she fought to hold back tears, the report said.
“It’s been 18 years, and I still don’t have the words for that,” she said. "I just wish I could bring them back or fix it."