Tulsa Woman Sentenced In Deadly Crash

Thursday, June 25th 2009, 11:46 am
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A Tulsa woman is heading to prison after pleading guilty to killing two people last fall while driving drunk.  Nancy Rueb was sentenced to 25 years on Thursday afternoon for the deaths of 27-year-old Cody Spears and 59-year-old Viola Tolbert.

A tearful Nancy Rueb made her way into the courtroom Thursday morning.  She immediately pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter, as well as one count of personal injury while driving under the influence.  Rueb then sat quietly while family members of the victims took the stand in an emotional round of testimony.

"Very hard, didn't know if I was going to make it through it," said Karin Small, mother of Cody Spears.

Cody Spears, Viola Tolbert, and three other family members, including two small children, got a flat tire on US 75 near 71st Street last November.  They had just pulled over onto the shoulder when authorities say Rueb, who was drunk, hit their car from behind.  Police say she never even braked.

"Nobody should have to go through what this family went through.  The time has come. The time has come where we have to start telling these people who drink and drive, we're not going to put up with it," said Tulsa County prosecutor Steve Kunzwiler.

The judge agreed, sentencing Rueb to 25 years for each manslaughter count, and five years for the personal injury count.  Her sentences will be served concurrently, meaning she will be behind bars for 25 years.

"I think she's more sorry for herself than what she's done to our family.  I do feel that justice was served," said Cody Spears' mother, Karin Small.

The prosecutor in the case pushed for a life sentence.  Still, he says he is happy with the result, and hopes this sends a message to anyone who chooses to drink and get behind the wheel.

"We need to stop that. We need to just stand up and when you see someone out there drinking, you need to say you are not going to drive," said Tulsa County prosecutor Steve Kunzwiler.

Rueb was given a chance to speak to the victim's families before her sentencing.  She admitted what she did was horrific, and hoped that in time they will be able to forgive her.

2/9/2009 Related story: Bond Reduced For Accused Drunk Driver