PORTSMOUTH, Va. - A Portsmouth woman was sentenced to serve 24 years in prison for her role in a police chase and crash that killed two young girls back in September 2015.
Takiara Lewis-White, 21, was found guilty of eight criminal counts -- two counts of felony homicide, three counts of child abuse and neglect and one count each of reckless driving, eluding police, and driving on a suspended license -- in October.
The victims were 8-year-old Destiny Wilson and 5-year-old Shawta Wilson.
During Lewis-White's trial, the jury recommended a sentence of 38 years and 12 months, plus a $31,500 fine, for her eight charges.
On Tuesday, the judge decided to lessen Lewis-White's time to 24 years, plus the recommended fine.
"It is unusual for a judge to disturb a jury verdict," he said, before sentencing her.
The judge agreed to let Lewis-White serve her felony homicide charges concurrently, meaning he will allow her to serve those sentences at the same time.
Teyeka Wilson, the mother of the two girls who were killed, said she was disappointed in the judge's decision.
“It’s a struggle everyday, getting out of the bed. It’s a struggle. The worst part of my day is when I first wake up, and when I’m getting ready to go to bed. They are the two worst parts of my day," Wilson told News 3's Merris Badcock.
"[Destiny and Shawnta] were full of life, full of energy," Wilson said, smiling for the first time during the interview. "They ran me in circles, but that’s what I miss the most.”
During the sentencing hearing, Lewis-White read a statement to Wilson, turning around to face her.
"Dear Ms. Wilson, i am truly sorry...If I could trade my life for theirs, I would," Lewis-White read from her paper.
"I am sorry for what happened to your girls. I hope one day you could forgive me," Lewis-White said looking directly at Wilson as she spoke.
Wilson testified she spends most of her time trying to hold it together for her children that are still alive, and she is forced to grieve for Destiny and Shawnta in private.
“I would not wish this kind of hell on anyone. Any mother should never – any parent should never have to endure this kind of hell,"
Lewis-White was charged after refusing to pull over for a Virginia State Police trooper, who testified she was doing 77 miles-per-hour in a 55 miles-per-hour zone.
The Trooper testified that he had to accelerate to 120 miles-per-hour just to catch Lewis-White, and then paced at 100 to 102 miles-per-hour during the chase.
The high speed chase ended after Lewis-White abruptly swerved to take an exit ramp, but flipped the vehicle . Destiny and Shawnta were killed in the crash. Lewis-White's own child, Kawme survived.
Lewis-White's attorneys told News 3 she was offered a plea deal, but wouldn't disclose the details of the offer. They say they plan to file an appeal.