Tulsa Judge Reduces Prison Sentence For Drunk Driver Who Killed Two People

Friday, June 18th 2010, 1:31 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley & Terry Hood, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A Tulsa County district judge reduced the amount of time a drunk driver who killed two people will have to spend in prison.

Nancy Rueb killed 27-year old Cody Spears and 59-year old Viola Tolbert while driving drunk in November of 2008. Rueb pleaded guilty last June to two counts of manslaughter, as well as one count of personal injury while driving under the influence.

Her attorney said Rueb is in several substance abuse programs and is using her professional training as a counselor to help other women in prison.

Paul Brunton, Rueb's Attorney: "Pretty strong, pretty strong, very strong."

The News On 6: "Does she feel any remorse?"

Paul Brunton, Rueb's Attorney: "Oh, everyday, everyday."

But the victim's family says Rueb is playing up the remorse for the sake of the court.

"Yeah, she said she was sorry in the beginning," said Eldon Small, victim's stepfather. "The thing of it is, how I see it is, yeah she's sorry, she's sorry that she got caught not sorry for what she's done."

Judge Carlos Chappelle made a small change to Rueb's sentence. He suspended 5 years, meaning she'll have to serve 20 years in prison but will be eligible for parole after 17 years.

The victim's family says they're okay with the change but worried about the message it sends.

"What's this saying to the public?" Eldon Small asked. "Is this saying that it's okay to go out here and go drink and drive and kill innocent children and innocent people?"

If Rueb is granted parole after 17 years, she'll be on probation another 8 years for the rest of the sentence. This was the only chance she had to ask for her sentence to be changed.

6/29/2009 Related story: Stepfather Of Tulsa Crash Victim Sounds Off On Drunk Drivers