The woman who pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the 2019 death of Randall Siddens was sentenced to the maximum 10 years in prison Wednesday, exactly two years after the crash that led to Siddens’ death.
Circuit Judge Jeff Harris imposed the sentence on Regine McCracken after family and friends of Siddens testified for nearly two hours about the impact of his death.
McCracken pleaded guilty to first-degree involuntary manslaughter March 10. She also pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault, driving while her license was suspended or revoked and careless and imprudent driving, all misdemeanors.
McCracken, 25, was reportedly on FaceTime and driving 18 mph over the speed limit when she hit Siddens and another pedestrian on Grindstone Parkway, police said at the time of the crash. She was originally arrested on charges of second-degree assault and careless and imprudent driving, but the Boone County Prosecutor’s Office changed the assault charge to involuntary manslaughter when Siddens died in November 2019.
Police said Siddens, 34, was thrown 127 feet after being struck by McCracken’s car and suffered internal bleeding, broken bones and a brain injury.
A probable cause statement written by Columbia Police Officer Nathan Turner said that McCracken was driving 68 mph in a 50-mph zone and that she was on FaceTime when she failed to slow in traffic for a red light. She swerved to avoid crashing into one vehicle and nearly struck a parked police car that had its lights activated and was blocking the outside lane, where Siddens and other volunteers were removing traffic cones after an Ultramax Sports triathlon.
McCracken didn’t stop until she crashed into another parked vehicle.
Harris’ sentence matched the request by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Nicholas Komoroski that McCracken be sentenced to 10 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections on the involuntary manslaughter charge and to one year each on the assault and careless and imprudent driving charges, all to be served at the same time. He also asked for a $500 fine for the charge of driving while suspended, which Harris granted.
Harris acknowledged before pronouncing his sentence that the case was difficult.
“We all know that, as was demonstrated by both sides here this morning, this was a tragedy and is a tragedy all the way around, on all sides, for the victim and the victim’s family, and for the defendant and her loved ones.”
Harris said he had to consider that McCracken had no driver’s license on the day of the crash, that she had four prior convictions for driving infractions and that she had been given medications during an overnight hospital stay before the crash.
McCracken’s lawyer, Matthew Uhrig, had earlier told Harris that she was given two drugs for symptoms of celiac disease but was somehow allowed to leave the hospital on her own.
Harris said it was “unlawful” and “irresponsible and reckless” for McCracken to drive herself from the hospital.
“She never should have been behind the wheel of that car. ... As a result we have this awful tragedy that affects so many people,” Harris said. He added, though, that he appreciated the fact that McCracken took the stand to express her remorse to Siddens’ family and friends and to the court.
McCracken’s statement was brief but tearful. She addressed Siddens’ wife, Adrienne Siddens, directly and apologized to her, Siddens’ friends and “the entire community.”
“I can’t begin to explain how much it hurts to know that I took him away from so many that loved him,” she said. “I know I have altered your family forever. I make no excuses. I cannot change what happened. There is no apology or amends that I can make that will make you or your children whole.”
McCracken said she would accept whatever sentence the court imposed.
Ten members of Siddens’ family, including Adrienne Siddens, delivered victim impact statements. His parents, brothers and in-laws also testified. They lamented the fact that the Siddens’ three children, one of whom was born while he was struggling to recover from the injuries he suffered in the crash, will never truly know their father. Those children now are 4, 2 1/2 and 1 1/2 years old.
They also described Siddens as an “amazing” person, friend and family member who always focused on motivating other people to be their best. They told the court of the havoc his death has caused in their lives and the tremendous sorrow that came with his loss.
Adrienne Siddens asked Harris to give McCracken the maximum sentence.
“This loss is something I will have to live with my entire life,” Siddens said. “It’s not something I will get over or get past. It’s now a part of me, a part of my story. I have to go through this life without my best friend. ... My life has been altered forever. Ten years doesn’t seem like too much to ask for.”
Harris said it troubled him that McCracken would spend 10 years in prison, given that she is the mother of two children, ages 9 and 2, but the Siddens children, he said, would never see their father again.
Harris denied Uhrig’s request that McCracken be given a 24-hour reprieve to spend another night with her daughters and to get her affairs in order. McCracken, he said, had a reasonable expectation that she would be incarcerated and had plenty of time to prepare.