November 30, 2017

Driver Who Killed Athens Cyclist Sentenced to 25 Years

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Photo Credit: Matt Hardy/file

A memorial for Ashley Block in September 2016.

A Madison County woman was sentenced to 25 years in prison for hitting a killing a University of Georgia graduate student and another cyclist while driving intoxicated and distracted, according to the Athens Banner-Herald.

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Superior Court Judge Eric Norris sentenced Whitney Baker Howard, 32, to a total of 31 years. She will serve the last six on probation. Howard was convicted of two counts of felony vehicular homicide and several other charges in October.

Howard's SUV crossed the center line on Athena Drive while answering her phone in September 2016 and hit Ashley Block and Mitchell Enfinger, killing Block and seriously injuring Enfinger.

Block, 25, was a graduate student in anthropology who was active in Emmanuel Episcopal Church and the local cycling community.

At the time, Howard had methadone and other prescription drugs in her system. Her then-2-year-old child was in the car with her.

Howard had also been accused of driving under the influence twice in the months before she killed Block.