Woman Sentenced In Fatal Maple Grove Drunk Driving Crash

MAPLE GROVE, Minn. (WCCO) — A Minnesota woman has pleaded guilty to hitting and killing a woman last January in Maple Grove.

Eight months have passed since the horrifying crash took Ann Blake: a mother, sister and friend. She was walking with her sister, Jean Gmach, that January afternoon.

“We had no warning! We had no warning!” Jean said.

On Monday, Jean relived the frightening experience again in a Hennepin County courtroom.

She told the judge that the crime was tragic and senseless.

“I will never forget Annie being taken. We can’t bring my sister back, but I just want to know why Ms. Hamm made the decision to drive,” she said.

Linda Hamm admitted to the judge she drank Vodka before driving to a meeting that Tuesday morning. She felt light-headed and turned around to head home.

Hamm doesn’t remember anything after that, including the crash. Her blood alcohol concentration was 0.169 – twice the legal limit.

Hamm told the judge how much she felt for Blake’s family.

“I’d like to say… it’s been very difficult to tell the family how sad I feel for them. I’m very, very sad I did that to them,” Hamm said.

She admitted she caused the crash, and was sentenced to a year in the work house, 10 years’ probation and 120 hours of community service.

Ann’s brother-in-law George Gmach says the verdict was not a cause for celebration.

“There’s no winners in this. Ann’s family isn’t a winner. We can’t bring Ann back,” Gmach said.

Her brother-in-law and the rest of their family are now raising Ann’s two children.

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