Katherine Ann Heinzel–a former Newport Beach policewoman who successfully sued the city for discrimination, won an $150,000 court award and was allowed to take disability retirement–is headed to state prison for nine years. The 51-year-old, who retired to the Riverside County town of Winchester near Hemet, was convicted in October of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated for a Nov. 19, 2011, collision on 1-15 near Fallbrook that killed a young Perris man.
Heinzel was intoxicated and speeding just before 2 a.m. when she rammed a Toyota Camry driven by Davieonne Dwayne Kelly and carrying two passengers. The impact caused both vehicles to break through a guardrail and fall down a steep embankment. Kelly died at the scene, and his two passengers and Heinzel were injured. The California Highway Patrol later said the ex-cop's blood-alcohol level was measured at .13-.14 percent.
She was looking at maximum 19 years behind bars at Friday's sentencing.
Heinzel was one of seven former and current Newport Beach policewomen who settled a discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit against the city for a total of $1.2 million in 1994.