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Calif. woman gets 11 years in car chase

HAYWARD, Calif. --An Oakland woman was sentenced to 11 years in prison Monday for killing her ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend by repeatedly ramming the vehicle they were riding in during a high-speed car chase.

Laura Medina, 23, tearfully apologized during her sentencing in Alameda County Superior Court, saying she sometimes wished she were dead instead of Michelle Dickerson, who was 18 when she died in the June 2004 crash.

"I meant no harm," said Medina, the mother of a 9-year-old son. "I never meant to hurt Michelle, and I'm sorry."

Medina, who initially was charged with murder and assault, pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter in last month. With credit for time served, she will be eligible for parole in about seven years.

Before the sentencing, Dickerson's mother, Dolly Babcock, said "this irresponsible and senseless crime" had devastated her family.

She told Medina, "Because of your stupid and irresponsible choices, I'm without my daughter forever, and let me tell you, it's a horrible and empty feeling."

Medina allegedly became enraged on June 22, 2004, when she saw her ex-boyfriend riding in a car with Dickerson, and began chasing their Chevrolet Cavalier at speeds up to 90 mph. Medina repeatedly rammed their vehicle with her Buick Park Avenue during the 10-mile chase from Oakland to Castro Valley, finally causing it to spin out into a row of parked cars and killing Dickerson, authorities said.

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Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle

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