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Arlington woman gets 16 years for DWI manslaughter

Erica Kolanowski, who pleaded guilty to driving while drunk, was sentenced to 16 years in prison today. The accident she caused killed one man and left another in a wheelchair.

FORT WORTH Erica Kolanowski, the Arlington woman who pleaded guilty to driving while drunk, was sentenced to 16 years in prison Thursday.

The accident she caused killed one man and left another in a wheelchair.

Kolanowski, 31, is a first-time offender, and she had appealed for a probated sentence. But she received nearly the maximum of 20 years for intoxicated manslaughter.

Earlier this week, Kolanowski pleaded guilty to being intoxicated when she ran a red light last year and crashed into another car.

The accident killed 20-year-old Joshua Carter and left his passenger, 22-year-old Matt Lundy, with traumatic injuries. Lundy is now confined to a wheelchair.

The sentencing follows days of emotional testimony, including some from Lundy, who spent 85 days in a hospital. He remains in therapy trying to learn how to properly speak, use his arms, and walk again.

Kolanowski broke down in tears throughout the trial. Her attorney said she tried to commit suicide shortly after the accident in January 2009.

Kolanowski was also sentenced to 10 years prison on a charge of intoxicated assault against Lundy, but that sentence runs concurrently with the manslaughter charge.

E-mail ccivale@wfaa.com