Jessica Williams, Nevada Department of Corrections photo. Jessica Williams, Nevada Department of Corrections photo.
After six appearances before the Nevada Parole Board, one for each of the young lives that ended when Jessica Williams fell asleep at the wheel in 2000, Williams, who has spent half of her life in prison, may finally be freed.
Williams was returning to Las Vegas from the Valley of Fire when she fell asleep at the wheel on a desolate stretch of Interstate 15 north of Las Vegas, where juvenile offenders were performing community service by picking up trash on the highway.
Because Williams, who admits she smoked marijuana the night before, had two parts per billion marijuana metabolites in her blood, the threshold level prohibited under the law, she was convicted under the state’s prohibited substance law, even though a jury found she was not impaired. She was sentenced to 48 years.
Williams told parole commissioners Monday she’s already working and hopes to remain at Casa Grande, a transitional housing facility in Las Vegas for offenders nearing the end of custody. The commission has granted Williams’ request for parole at each of the prior five hearings.
Williams broke down as she told the parole board her life in custody since the accident has been an attempt to make up for her actions.
“I don’t know what I can do on the outside,” she said.
“You’re 40 years old. You have a life ahead.” said Commissioner Susan Jackson, who told Williams to honor her victims by living a purposeful life.
“Jessica has earned the ability to move forward with her life,” Kristina Wildeveld, Williams’ co-counsel, said in a statement to the Current. “There will always remain a deep sadness of the loss of life in this case, but small solace in knowing the situation