Mothers of two DWI victims killed in 2015 tragic wreck respond to driver finally being taken into custody

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — It’s been six years since two Texoma 20-year-olds lost their lives in a drunk driving car crash near Nocona, and their loved ones may finally be getting the justice they deserve as the woman charged with the tragic wreck is finally behind bars.

“There’s a void in your life and in your heart,” said Kelli Patterson, the mother of Kyle Kemp. “There’s always an empty chair at the table or in the living room where we all used to gather and do things and talk.”

It’s a void that both mothers have felt every day for the last six years. On October 23, 2015, Kyle Kemp and Brent Winkler, both 20 years old, were killed in a car crash after their car was struck by Terri Sanders, who had left a party and was driving the wrong way on Highway 82.

After posting bail in 2015, then appealing her convictions, Sanders has been able to avoid prison time for years, even hiding from the law. However, after being tracked down, she now sits behind bars in Montague County waiting to be transferred to prison to finally begin serving her sentence, a long process that mothers Vickie Hawkins and Kelli Patterson said they are glad to see come to an end.

“It’s an indescribable feeling to know that someone was found guilty and they may never serve their sentence, so to know now that, finally, her time has come, it is somewhat of a relief,” Patterson said.

Both mothers said knowing that she was able to avoid her punishment for so long has been hard to deal with.

“Very angry because we feel like it was not fair,” said Vickie Hawkins, the mother of Brent Winkler.

“Because we feel like she should’ve went when they found her guilty,” Patterson said.

“Through all that, my mom said it best, ‘We all felt like we’ve been doing the sentence,’ and now it’s her turn to serve her time because we’ve sure been doing ours,” Patterson said.

Sanders was convicted of two counts of manslaughter and one count of aggravated assault. She was sentenced to two eight-year sentences and one four-year sentence, time the families hope she uses to think about what she did.

“We didn’t have that option,” Patterson said. “Our sons are six feet under, and we don’t get to talk to them or hear their voice anymore, and even though she’s going to go start her time, she’ll still be communicating at some point.”

Both said it’s a small price to pay for what they’ve lost, and they just have one final message to share for everyone:

“Please don’t drink and drive and destroy someone else’s family the way ours has been,” Patterson said.

For two families who’ve waited so long, justice has finally been served.

As of today, Terri Sanders is still in the Montague County Jail awaiting transfer to prison.

The families want to extend a ‘Thank you’ to Wichita County District Attorney John Gillespie and 97th District Attorney Casey Polhemus for all their work on the case.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't Miss

Trending Stories

Report It

Latest News

More Local News