Post updated at 5:53 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1:
A Lawrence woman sobbed into her hands on Friday as she was sentenced to 41 months in prison for the 2021 death of Rachel Snow, who was struck by a car and killed while walking her bicycle.
Originally charged with second-degree murder, Kodi R. Crane, 41, pleaded guilty July 25 to involuntary manslaughter in an agreement with the prosecutors.
Snow, a 50-year-old Lawrence resident, was hit from behind on Aug. 4, 2021, as she pushed a bicycle eastbound on 15th Street near Haskell Avenue.
According to court documents, a police investigation showed that Crane had “drifted into the curb, drove up onto the grass, and corrected before striking Rachel Snow and dragging her through the intersection.” Snow’s shoes were located by police in the bike lane.
Crane remained at the scene until police arrived and was released after an interview. A blood sample taken by investigators approximately three hours after the incident tested positive for benzodiazepines, cannabinoids, methamphetamine/MDMA and lamotrigine. Crane had prescriptions for benzodiazepines and lamotrigine.
Crane was arrested on April 29, 2022 and later released on a $50,000 bond.
Before handing down Crane’s sentence, Douglas County District Court Judge Amy Hanley took a short break to consider a request for downward departure from defense attorney John Kerns and sentencing recommendations made by Senior Assistant District Attorney David Greenwald.
Upon returning to the courtroom, Hanley said the mitigating factors offered by the defense were not enough to reduce Crane’s sentence from the presumptive sentence outlined by the State of Kansas.
“I have considered all of the factors and I do not find them substantial and compelling,” Hanley said. “The harm done here is too great.”
All five of Crane’s children, who range in age from 11 to 21, were present in court for the sentencing. Two of the children and Crane herself addressed the court prior to Hanley handing down the sentence of just short of 3 1/2 years, to be followed by 24 months of post-release supervision.
Crane’s daughter Maria Perez told the judge that a jail sentence would be difficult for her family to navigate.
“My mom’s my best friend,” Perez said. “Without her I don’t know what me and my siblings are going to do. She was always there for us kids. She’s always been a good mom to us.”
Kerns argued that a downward departure on sentencing — meaning a punishment that is less than what is set forth in guidelines established by the State of Kansas — would benefit Crane’s children and grandchildren by allowing her to continue supporting them both financially and emotionally.
She told the court about her responsibilities and detailed her efforts since the crime to seek help for her drug problems and improve her own life. However, she said, she understood that Snow would not have the same opportunity.
“I can’t say I was under the influence, but I did have drugs in my system,” Crane said. “I take that responsibility.”
She told the court about her responsibility to her own five children as well as two grandchildren, and she detailed her efforts since the crime to seek help for her drug problems and improve her own life.
“I want everybody to know that I’m sorry,” Crane said. “I can take it back. I can’t change what happened.”
Greenwald said that despite Crane’s apologies, she continued to minimize her responsibility for Snow’s death.
He told the judge that Crane had admitted to using marijuana through July 2022 although her drug treatment program had begun a month earlier, and that Crane already had one conviction of possession of marijuana with intent to sell or distribute from 2003.
“That should have been Ms. Crane’s wake-up call 20 years ago,” Greenwald said. “The idea that probation would be the magical factor in getting her clean and sober won’t work. The empirical data shows it won’t work.”
Hanley spoke directly to Crane after announcing the sentence. She said cases of driving under the influence leading to death were among the most difficult to preside over.
Hanley acknowledged Crane’s efforts since the incident and said it was clear that she was remorseful for Snow’s death.
“This sentence is not a reflection of who you are as a person,” Hanley said. “This sentence is a reflection of the actions you took on the date Rachel Snow was killed. This sentence provides accountability.”
Crane was put into handcuffs and led away by Douglas County sheriff’s deputies immediately after the sentencing hearing.