TWIN FALLS — A Hollister woman pleaded guilty Monday to amended charges in the hit-and-run death of Twin Falls firefighter Ryan Franklin.
Hollie Marie Winnett, 33, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter and a felony count of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death. Winnett was originally charged with felony vehicular manslaughter.
According to a plea offer Winnett signed Jan. 6, prosecutors will recommend that Winnett be sentenced to probation plus up to 90 days in jail. Prosecutors will leave up to a judge any underlying prison sentence that Winnett would serve should she fail on probation.
The state will also argue that Winnett should pay restitution to Franklin’s wife, Amie Franklin, and the couple’s four children. That could include funeral expenses, child support and other fines.
According to the amended charges, Winnett caused Ryan Franklin’s death, but “without malice” and “without gross negligence,” by striking him while traveling at about 50 mph “in a sleepy and/or asleep state.” The documents also say Winnett had reason to know a person was injured or killed in the crash.
Winnett, who also has four children, told investigators the crash happened after she dropped off her children at school.
“I caused the death of Ryan Franklin when I fell asleep driving and hit him,” Winnett wrote in court documents. “I also then panicked and left the scene.”
Winnett’s charges stem from a May 18 crash on 2900 North, south of Kimberly. It killed the 34-year-old, an avid cyclist who was riding his bicycle while off duty when he was struck from behind. He died at the scene.
Police say Winnett drove at least eight miles on just a rim after losing a tire in the crash. She eventually returned to the scene with her husband.
Winnett was set to go on trial later this month. She will be sentenced March 17.
Franklin had worked for the Twin Falls Fire Department about 2 1/2 years and taught middle school English and coached basketball at Lighthouse Christian School for six years before that.