SAN JOSE (KPIX) — A former San Jose city council candidate and president of the Women’s March Bay Area was sentenced to six months in jail and two years probation for crashing her SUV into a pedestrian and killing him instantly.
“To say that we were disappointed is an understatement,” said Bridget Starkey.READ MORE: Bootleg Fire Update: Massive Blaze Stirs Up Turbulent Weather System; Tornado Rips Through Forestland
Her father, Tim Starkey, was killed several days before Christmas Day in 2019 when Jennifer Higgins Bradanini slammed into the 66-year-old on Blossom Hill Road, in Los Gatos.
Los Gatos-Monte Sereno police said that Bradanini was under the influence of prescription pills used for anxiety, depression and insomnia. She was on her way to a doctor’s appointment from San Jose when she crossed over a bike lane and onto the shoulder where Tim was standing near his truck. He was getting ready to put up Christmas lights for a friend.
Bradanini pleaded no contest to felony vehicular manslaughter. But a judge Tuesday agreed to reduce the charge to misdemeanor gross negligence, which comes with a lighter sentence.
“It was a shock, a shock to all of us,” said Starkey. “What she took from us is immeasurable, and my dad’s loss will remain forever.”READ MORE: Santa Cruz Police Investigate BLM Mural Vandalism as Hate Crime
Timothy Lundell, a local attorney and family friend, said he knew Tim Starkey for nearly four decades. He was in the courtroom Tuesday and heard Bradanini’s statement to the Starkey family.
“She said she didn’t have an explanation for what happened, that it wasn’t intentional,” Lundell said. “It was a life taken away that has so much promise, love, tenderness, fun. All the things that family would want in a husband and dad. Gone in an instant.”
“To see the woman who killed my father in person is very jarring,” Starkey said.
The family said they plan to explore other legal options in the future, but their focus so far was getting through the sentencing day.
Despite the heartache, Starkey said she respects the remorse that Bradanini showed today in court. She said that’s what her dad, who taught her to live life with integrity, would want her to do.MORE NEWS: Evacuations Expand as Firefighters Battle Merged Dixie, Fly Fires Near Lake Almanor
“My dad was just a lover of music and cooking for people,” Starkey said. “I think that he’d be very proud of my mom, of myself and my brother, Joe. For standing up, sticking up for him and defending his character in front of the judge, in front of the woman who killed him.”