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Man pleads guilty to July crash that killed Kent teacher

A Bonney Lake man who struck and killed Kent elementary school teacher Stacy Ankerfelt last summer could face more than 10 years in jail.

Samuel Cruz pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and driving while under the influence in court on Wednesday. King County prosecutors will recommend that Cruz serve a little more than eight years at his sentencing on Jan. 25, although the judge could sentence Cruz to 8½ to 10½ years in jail.

Cruz is charged with hitting Ankerfelt with his 1994 Toyota 4Runner on July 19 as she stood alongside her car in front of her Auburn home. Police reports said 28-year-old woman was carried by Cruz's vehicle and then thrown to the ground. She suffered extensive injuries and died a month later at Harborview Medical Center.

At the time of the accident, Cruz told police that he takes Suboxone, a prescription drug for opiate dependency. Cruz had no known criminal convictions, but did have a previous DUI charge out of Enumclaw.

Friends and family reflected and celebrated Ankerfelt's life on Sept. 8. Kent's Scenic Hill Elementary School, where Ankerfelt taught fifth grade, now has a program to reward students who exemplify Ankerfelt's approach to life. Students are celebrated with an "A" award in the teacher's memory.

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