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.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.