Repeat DUI Offender's Sentence Upsets Victim's Sister

By Anne Marshall

(LOUISVILLE) -- A repeat DUI offender and former high school teacher pled guilty Monday morning to another drunk driving charge. That plea came 14 years after Roberta Brammer struck and killed a motorcyclist while driving drunk. As WAVE 3's Anne Marshall reports, some say Brammer's sentence is proof that Bluegrass DUI laws are too weak.

Elderly and frail, Roberta Brammer does not look like a woman with a serious record. And in the eyes of the law she isn't, despite her appearances before.

"There is not a more infamous driver in the county than Ms. Brammer," Jefferson County prosecutor Robert Fleck said in court Monday.

In May, Brammer was arrested on a drunk driving charge -- her third -- and it came 14 years after she killed motorcyclist Jimmy McKinney while driving drunk.

She was sentenced to three-and-a-half years for McKinney's death, but was released on shock probation after serving only one month. After Brammer's guilty plea and sentence recommendation Monday, McKinney's sister, Sarah, couldn't help but be shocked by this sentence.

"It's disappointing and frightening," she said.

Under Kentucky law, Brammer is considered a first-time DUI offender because it's been more than five years since her last offense. On Monday, she was ordered to serve 10 days in jail, and 20 days of home incarceration. Her license was suspended for 30 days, and she must also complete an alcohol treatment program.

"I do think that she needs treatment," McKinney said, "and I do think that the community needs to be protected, and that the five-year look-back law prevented that from happening."

But Brammer's defense attorney, Bart Adams, said in court that "she doesn't need to be in jail, she needs help."

Adams says the state's drunk driving laws punish and protect, and it's now up to his client to change. "Physically and mentally, she's such a wreck," Adams said. "I'm very concerned about her."

"She's had 14 years to get into alcohol treatment," McKinney said. "And I think she could have done that after she served a little more time."

For now, Brammer may not look dangerous, but those who know her can't turn a blind eye to her past.

"I understand that five-year look-back law," McKinney said, "but it's a bad law, and it needs to be changed."

McKinney, who used to be the president of the Louisville chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, wishes the judge had imposed the maximum of 120 days without a license rather than 30.

Brammer does get credit for four days already served in jail.

Online Reporter: Anne Marshall

Online Producer: Michael Dever