Inchelium woman convicted of vehicular homicide

RaeLynn Ricarte

A 43-year-old Inchelium woman was sentenced last week to 102 months in prison after being convicted in a September jury trial of vehicular homicide.
“This is about justice, it's about fairness,” said Superior Court Judge Patrick Monasmith to defendant Rebecca Clemmer at the Oct. 1 sentencing hearing.d
Monasmith said the maximum allowable sentence was deserved because Clemmer had travelled for miles southbound on Highway 395 weaving between roadway shoulders.
She was convicted in September of taking the life of 22-year-old Eric Bruhjell of Sandpoint, Idaho, when she crossed the centerline near Clayton, but Monasmith said she put many other sons, daughters, husbands, wives, mothers and fathers in harm's way. 
“There was no explainable medical condition for what occurred,” said the judge. “I can't think of a more aggravated process that got us here. It could have been anyone on the road that day.”
He said the level of narcotics in Clemmer’s blood exceeded the allowable level and she had ingested opiates knowing their effect given her previous abuse of pain medications.
“Clearly, it wasn't just reckless driving, it was reckless driving tied to DUI,” said Monasmith.
He told Bruhjell's parents, Mary and Robin, that there was no pain compared to that of losing a child and that was recognized by the court with the strong sentence. 
Stevens County Deputy Prosecutor Erika George told Monasmith the state recommended the maximum time behind bars partly because Clemmer had exhibited a lack of remorse for her actions that was noted by law enforcement officials at the scene on July 20, 2018.
“I don't think that something the court should ignore,” she said. “She didn't ask about the victim, she was just concerned about herself and what would happen to her.”
George noted that Clemmer couldn't even say at her own trial that she wasn't under the influence at the time of the crash.
Bruhjell was southbound on H395 in his 2005 Mazda MZ3 near mile marker 185 when he encountered Clemmer's 2016 Chevrolet Cruze that had crossed the centerline.
George said Bruhjell tried avoid Clemmer's car by driving onto the roadway shoulder, but her car still struck his. There were no other occupants in either vehicle.

Find more on this story in the Oct. 9 issue of The Statesman-Examiner.