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Woman gets 40 years for deadly Lexington KY crash

A woman who killed three people in an interstate car crash in September 2019 received a 40-year prison sentence Thursday after pleading guilty to murder, manslaughter and other charges.

Tammy Rodriguez, 45, was sentenced by Fayette Circuit Judge Lucy VanMeter for two counts of murder, second-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault and first-degree wanton endangerment. She accepted a plea deal in April 2022 which amended some of her charges.

As part of the plea deal, the sentences for the two murder charges will run consecutively for a total of 40 years, and the remaining charges will be served out concurrently with the other, more severe counts. She will be eligible for parole after 20 years.

She was originally charged with three counts of murder, first-degree assault, first-degree wanton endangerment and driving without a license.

Rodriguez was allegedly being chased by police in Clark County when she crossed into Fayette County on the night of Sept. 4, 2019. She made a U-turn on I-75 and traveled the wrong way for almost a mile before her Ford F-150 hit two other vehicles, Lexington police said.

Winchester police officers who were chasing Rodriguez were driving about 90 mph, but she was outrunning them all before the crash, Winchester police Capt. James Hall said previously.

Rodriguez’s sister, Kandi Deel, 35, of Pikeville, was riding with Rodriguez and was killed in the crash, according to the Fayette County Coroner’s Office.

Two sisters in one of the other cars, 26-year-old Taylor Blevins and 20-year-old Caitlyn Bailey, were also killed, according to the Fayette County coroner. They were both from Georgetown. Rodriguez’s niece was seriously injured in the crash.

The family of Blevins and Bailey spoke about the loss they suffered.

“My two daughters’ lives have been taken by this woman,” mother Christy Bailey said in court. “I miss my babies every day. … I ask that she serve 40 years for taking my daughters’ lives. I will never get to hug them, or see them again. (Rodriguez) shows no remorse. She has forever changed my life, and my family’s lives.”

Bailey and Blevins’ sister, Peyton Combs, also spoke and said she asked for the maximum penalty possible.

Rodriguez took an opportunity to speak following the victims’ statements, and said the “incident was an accident,” and that she never meant to cause any harm. She also stated she was not under the influence at the time of the crash.

“I want to reiterate to you all that I was never under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” she said. “The only intention I had was to save my sister’s life because she was in an abusive relationship.”

Rodriguez added, “This was life changing for your family and mine. I am asking with my whole heart for you to forgive me, but that is in God’s time. Not mine. My heart and my compassion goes out to you.”

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Brad Bryant asked VanMeter to send a message to the community, that this type of behavior is not accepted. He argued she had ample time to pull over and stop before anything tragic took place.

Before announcing the sentence, VanMeter said it was difficult to put into words how tragic the incident was.

“Three lives were lost including two young women with whole lives ahead,” she said.

Taylor Six is the criminal justice reporter at the Herald-Leader. She was born and raised in Lexington attending Lafayette High School. She graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in 2018 with a degree in journalism. She previously worked as the government reporter for the Richmond Register.

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