Woman gets prison time for causing fatal crash

Patricia Nwaneri killed in the February crash

DETROIT - A woman police say intentionally crashed her car, causing the death of the other driver, gave a tearful apology Thursday before being sentenced to prison.

Ponya Lee was convicted of manslaughter, reckless driving causing death and malicious destruction of property charges in the Feb. 17 death of Patricia Nwaneri.

Police said Lee was arguing with her ex-girlfriend and told her she was going to wreck her car. Lee ignored a traffic light and hit Nwaneri's vehicle in Westland.

Nwaneri, 55, of Ypsilanti, died at a hospital. She was a mother of four who was headed to her nursing job.

"I know what I did was wrong. It was not intentional," Lee told the court. "I think about Patricia every day. Every single night I pray for her and her family."

[Web extra] Raw video of Ponya Lee's apology in court

Lee was sentenced to seven to 15 years in prison on the manslaughter charge; Six to 15 years on the reckless driving charge and three to 10 years on the malicious destruction of property charge. All the sentences will be served concurrently.

Two of Nwaneri's children also spoke at Lee's sentencing, remembering the strugglers their single mother overcame and the dedication she had to making sure they were able to go to school.

"This has been an extremely devastating loss for our family," said Nkemjika Nwaneri, 21. "There's so much that she did for us. I don't know how to feel, what to say. We lost a mother."

[Web extra] Raw video: Patricia Nwaneri's children address court

Nwaneri's daughter

"Every day I live in honor of my mom," said Ugochinyere Nwaneri. "I never imagined losing my mom."

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