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Sunnyside woman to be imprisoned three years for vehicular homicide

After six months of waiting, the Toppenish family of an eight-month-old baby yesterday (Wednesday) received the final word on the sentence to be handed Gwen Rusk, 53, of Sunnyside.

Last June Rusk crossed the centerline while driving on SR-22 near Toppenish, according to the Yakima County Prosecutor's Office.

As a result, the Ford Thunderbird she was driving crashed into an oncoming GMC pick-up. Two adults and two children were injured in the crash, but the infant in the pick-up, Dorian Valdovinos of Toppenish, was killed.

According to the prosecutor's office, evidence showed Rusk was under the influence of methamphetamine and an anti-anxiety medication at the time of the incident.

Court records show Rusk first went before a judge June 27, 2009 and was charged with vehicular homicide.

She was held on $20,000 bond following a bail hearing, where Judge F. James Gavin set bail at $150,000.

After months of hearings on the matter, she plead guilty on Jan. 14, 2010, and was sentenced in Yakima County Superior Court yesterday.

Judge David E. Elofson sentenced Rusk to 36 months in jail and 18 months community custody. She was also ordered to pay $7,000 to the state crime victims fund, according to court records.

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