A Gainesville woman will spend a decade in prison for causing a 2010 wreck in north Forsyth that claimed the lives of two people and injured two others.
Deborah Elaine Mace, 45, pleaded guilty Wednesday morning in Forsyth County Superior Court to four counts each of first-degree homicide by vehicle and first-degree serious injury by vehicle.
She also pleaded guilty two counts of driving under the influence and one count each of possession of cocaine, failure to maintain lane and no proof of insurance.
The charges stem from a Jan. 31, 2010, head-on collision on Hwy. 53 near the Dawson-Forsyth county line that killed 48-year-old Ricky Joe Frady and his passenger, 57-year-old Brenda Williams.
Williams was a custodian at Chestatee Elementary School. Also injured in the wreck were her granddaughter, Keisha Ray, and Hattie Lorene Skywark.
All four were riding in Frady’s 2007 Kia Sportage when it was struck by a 2005 Dodge Stratus driven by Mace.
Superior Court Chief Judge Jeffrey S. Bagley sentenced Mace to serve 10 years in prison and 15 on probation.
Bagley called the fatal wreck a senseless crime and told Mace she was going to prison for a reason.
“That reason is that some crimes are so bad that the offender has to pay the price,” Bagley said.
Before the sentencing, members of the Williams and Frady families addressed the court. While they said they forgave Mace, they also asked Bagley to punish her.
Ray said she was 18 when the wreck that changed her life happened. She said Williams, with whom she lived, had been like a mother to her.
“She was always there for me and she taught me the good things in life,” said Ray, who was hospitalized for about six months because of her injuries.
She told Mace, who was also hurt in the wreck, that she isn’t mad at her, but is hurt by what happened.
“You’re forgiven,” Ray said. “I just don’t want you to do it to anyone else.”
Skywark said nothing could change what happened that night.
Doris Hancock, Frady’s older sister, shared that her brother had seven children. Shortly before the wreck, he had turned his own life around and been active in church.
“There comes a time when you have to grow up, you have to change your life,” Hancock said. “I hope you have changed your ways and have remorse.”
Mace, who said she didn’t remember what happened that night, issued a tearful apology to the families.
“I was told that I killed people and I’m so sorry from the bottom of my heart,” she said, adding that if she could change places with Williams or Frady she would.
“I’m so sorry to all of you,” Mace said. “I think about it every day.”