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Woman with 2 prior DUI convictions who was high on meth gets maximum sentence for fatal crash

At sentencing, one of Alice Yuan's daughters said she was infuriated that the suspect selfishly chose to drive under the influence again.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — A woman with two prior drunk driving convictions, who was high on meth when she struck and killed a mother of four, was sentenced to 12 years in prison, according to the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office.

Cayla Lynn Cushman, 28, was sentenced last week for the death of Alice Yuan, who was 60 years old when she was killed last year.

Cushman pleaded guilty on Sept. 25, 2020, to vehicular homicide DUI in Yuan’s death. Other charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

Two of Yuan’s four daughters made statements at the Jan. 14 sentencing hearing, urging the judge to impose the maximum sentence.

RELATED: Drunk driving deaths in Colorado continuing to climb -- even after 2015 passage of felony DUI law

“My family lost a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt and a grandmother to six grandchildren,” said one daughter who appeared in the courtroom in person. “She only stood 5 feet tall, yet she carried so much on her shoulders and did all this with a smile and a laugh.”

On Feb. 16, 2020, Yuan was driving home from working a 10-hour shift at her restaurant job on South Platte Canyon Road in Columbine Valley. Cushman was coming the other direction, driving 70 mph while high on meth, according to prosecutors. She crossed the center line and hit Yuan’s car. Yuan died at the scene.

Credit: Family
Alice Yuan, 60, was killed in the February 2020 crash.

RELATED: Is Colorado's felony DUI law working? The struggle to stop repeat offenders from still driving drunk

“Our father has been disabled for many years now, and our mother was by his side every day,” said another one of her daughters in a statement read by Senior Deputy District Attorney Megan Brewer. “The fact that the defendant was acting selfishly and decided to speed down a small street that is only 35 mph while under the influence and having been convicted twice prior upsets and infuriates me. … My mother did not deserve to die.”

Brewer asked the judge to impose a 12-year sentence. She noted Cushman’s previous convictions and that probation and substance abuse treatment had failed to alter Cushman’s behavior.

Credit: ACSO
Carla Cushman

“We don’t know the real number of times this defendant has driven while under the influence, but we know she has been convicted twice,” Brewer said in her sentencing argument. “And this time she was under an interlock device, under the influence of meth, and she still chose to drive that night."

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