Driver high on meth doesn't take responsibility for crash that killed deputy

GATESVILLE, Texas – The woman who a jury found guilty of being high on methamphetamine when she hit and killed a Harris County sheriff’s deputy says she is appealing her case, because a judge did not allow some pieces of evidence in at trial.

Kelly Jo Ivey admits she did meth two days before the October 28, 2014, crash on Wallisville Road in Highlands but says she was not intoxicated when the crash occurred. Ivey also says prosecutors’ contentions that she veered into the oncoming lane and hit Deputy Jesse Valdez III head on are untrue. Valdez left behind a son.

"He veered into my lane," Ivey told Channel 2 Investigative reporter Jace Larson in her first media interview.

The jury did not believe that and found Ivey guilty of intoxication manslaughter. The same jury sentenced her to 60 years in prison.

Ivey was not able to say what specifically she will use as grounds for an appeal.

Ivey had been out of prison for just weeks when the crash occurred, after serving less than a year for a previous meth-related offense.

"I take blame for my own self being in the vehicle, because I should have stayed home," Ivey said. "I’d just got out of prison. But the accident itself, no.”

Ivey said she didn’t deserve the 60-year sentence.

"I was only out a few weeks, and now I’m back (in prison) for something I’m not guilty of," she said. "I was not intoxicated at the time of the accident."

Harris County Assistant District Attorney Alison Baimbridge dismissed Ivey’s claims, saying they are untrue.

"I don’t think there was any evidence to back up what she said," Baimbridge said. "The crash report along with all the other information clearly showed that she crossed over the center double yellow line as she was traveling down the road."

Baimbridge said there was no evidence to suggest Ivey did not cause the accident. Baimbridge hopes Ivey’s appeal is not successful.

"She got an extremely fair trial," Baimbridge said.

Online appeals court records show the appeal is in its early stages. No date is set for a hearing, records show.

During Ivey’s court hearings, Valdez’ mother spoke about losing her son and directed her comments at Ivey.

"My son was 32 years old and had so much life left in him," said Debhora Ann Valdez. "Our hearts ache to be awakened from this horrible nightmare. A nightmare you started, Kelly Jo Ivey."

If you have a comment about this story or a tip for investigative reporter Jace Larson, email jlarson@kprc.com or text him at 832-493-3951. You can follow him on Twitter at @JaceLarson.