vehicular manslaughter

Trina Michelle Junkert, 32, goes to sit down after pleading guilty Wednesday to two counts of vehicular homicide in Skagit County Superior Court.

MOUNT VERNON — A Burlington woman was sentenced to five years in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide in the deaths of a Sedro-Woolley couple.

Trina Michelle Junkert, 32, pleading guilty to two charges of vehicular homicide reckless manner and one charge of driving under the influence.

Junkert was driving about 1 a.m. on July 8, 2018 when she struck and killed Wayne Gunsolley, 64, and Patricia Gunsolley, 67.

The two were in the road outside their parked vehicle near Highway 20 and Rhodes Road, attempting to rescue opossums that had been injured.

The sentence is below the standard range. Such sentences need to be approved by a judge, which Skagit County Superior Court Judge Dave Needy did.

Needy called the case a tragedy, with a sentence that both supporters of Junkert and mourners of the Gunsolleys were unlikely to be happy with.

“Both sides are going to face tragedy for a long time,” Needy said. “Of course, the Gunsolleys won’t come back.”

Speaking in court to Needy, Patricia Gunsolley’s brother said he would like to see Junkert sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole.

“My sister is dead without the chance of parole,” he said. “No plea bargain, nothing.”

Two of the Gunsolleys’ four children also spoke, with one saying that while his father, a spiritual man, had always preached love and forgiveness he found it difficult to forgive Junkert.

Junkert, who cried during the hearing, apologized to the Gunsolleys, saying not a day went by that she didn’t think about the couple.

Upon her release, Junkert will serve a year and a half of community custody.

— Reporter Kera Wanielista: 360-416-2141, kwanielista@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kera_SVH, facebook.com/KeraReports

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