Driver who killed couple in crash will spend 2 more years in prison

SEATTLE -- Daniel Habeeb, who slammed his SUV into a another vehicle in November 2011, killing a Seattle couple, was sentenced Monday to 65 months for the fatal high-speed crash.  Since he has been behind bars for two years since the crash, the 45-year-old will now spend an additional two years in prison.

Laura Sheard, a UW medical student, and her boyfriend Kristopher Martin were killed instantly when they were rear-ended at high speed by Habeeb, who had his 10-year-old daughter and her friend in his SUV.

“Laura and Kris had pretty much every one of their bones broken and bodies burned beyond recognition while Daniel Habeeb was able to walk away from his vehicle for a second time with minor cuts and bruises,” said Amanda Ryan, Laura Sheard’s sister.

Just two years earlier, Habeeb killed 65-year-old Susan Peek, again driving erratically at high speed.

“The legal system that should have protected them failed miserably.  Mr. Habeeb, who had killed before, was allowed to go free and do it again.  One life lost was too much.  Three is unconscionable,” said Carol Sheard, the victim’s mother.

In the 2009 case, Habeeb was given a one-year suspended sentence with the agreement he receive mental health treatment.  He admitted not taking his medication or reporting more frequent episodes to his therapist.

“The world is a darker place since you killed them Mr. Habeeb.  You may think having their blood on your hands is an insurmountable debt and you would be correct, but whether or not you deserve a third chance from society after killing and injuring so many people, it sounds like you’re about to get one,” said Theresa Ulrich, the victim’s sister.

In a move that surprised nearly everyone in court, Judge Douglas North denied a plea agreement that would have freed Habeeb immediately.  Instead, he will serve two more years behind bars.

“The thought of him getting out today was devastating.  The fact he has another two years is a little bit of relief.  Nothing is going to make up for what he’s done.  It doesn’t feel like enough but I recognize the judge and prosecutors are making an effort to do the best they could and we are grateful for that,” said Ryan.