Bradshaw sentenced to 7.5 years in prison for 2021 death of 10-year-old

By Jon Micheal Karpilow
Posted 3/27/24

The Lake Stevens woman who lost control of her car and struck two girls in the entrance of a campground in July 2021, killing one and badly injuring the other, has been sentenced to 90 months in …

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Bradshaw sentenced to 7.5 years in prison for 2021 death of 10-year-old


The Lake Stevens woman who lost control of her car and struck two girls in the entrance of a campground in July 2021, killing one and badly injuring the other, has been sentenced to 90 months in prison.

Charlene Servis Bradshaw was sentenced in Jefferson County Superior Court on Feb. 27 for vehicular homicide-reckless driving, and assault in the fourth degree, reduced as part of a plea deal. James Kennedy, who prosecuted the case, initially charged Bradshaw with three forms of vehicular homicide: reckless driving, driving under the influence, and disregard for the safety of others.

Washington State Patrol, which investigated the accident, said Bradshaw, then 67, was driving on US 101 near Milepost 153 north of Queets when her car drifted off the road, veered in and out of an irrigation ditch, and then into the campground, striking the girls.

Ten-year-old Aliyah Gaitan-Wells died at the scene, while her friend, 12, was medevaced to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Both girls were part of the Quinault Tribe. Bradshaw was not injured.

The investigation generated a report of about 100 pages, Kennedy said. Toxicology reports showed Bradshaw was driving under the influence of three separate prescription medications: Oxycodone, an opioid, Cyclobenzaprine, a muscle relaxant, and Gabapentin, a painkiller and anti-seizure medication. State Patrol concluded the crash likely resulted from Bradshaw losing consciousness while she was driving. All three medications carry warnings regarding their use while driving. 

Defense attorney Scott Charlton sought a 12-month sentence, suggesting the possibility of some level of home confinement via an electronic home monitoring system. He said she had no prior criminal history, and was in poor health.

At the sentencing hearing, Kennedy argued for 102 months of incarceration, the high-end of the state’s sentencing guidelines. He cited the number and age of the victims, the multiple medications present in Bradshaw’s system, and her medical condition at the time of the collision. 

When Bradshaw was charged, authorities said she had a history of the use of prescription opioids, and at one time was prescribed Suboxone, which helps reduce withdrawal effects and is used to treat opioid addiction. However, after a cardiac arrest toward the end of 2020, Bradshaw blamed Suboxone, and was again prescribed Oxycodone, according to authorities. Bradshaw also was diagnosed with sleep apnea, but failed to use a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) apparatus on the night before the accident. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to excessive tiredness. 

The 90-month sentence imposed by Judge Brandon Mack falls in the middle of sentencing guidelines for vehicular homicide-reckless driving, which is 78 to 102 months of incarceration.

Many were present in the courtroom to read victim impact statements at Bradshaw’s sentencing.  Marjorie Wells, Aliyah’s grandmother noticed that Bradshaw was not looking at the people speaking, and asked the judge to require her to look. The judge repeated the request but told Bradshaw it was up to her. 

“It was hard sitting in the same courtroom as the person who took my daughter’s life,” San-dee Wells, Aliyah’s mother, said later. “Not because I feel pity for her but because in order to truly heal you have to forgive those who have harmed you.”

Wells said she profoundly misses her daughter, who achieved much in her young life.


“She had phenomenal grades, and was an [Amateur Athletics Union] basketball player, with aspirations to go to law school to fight for indigenous people.” She won back-to-back honors three years in a row as part of Tribal Royalty, an annual tradition for youth of the Quinault tribe. 

“If this has taught me anything it is to embrace and live every moment because in a second your life could turn upside down,” said Wells. That ‘I love you’ could be your very last. Make every moment count. 

Wells said while she was now “at peace,” she remained critical of the plea deal, and the number of delays in the process. The family would have preferred a trial, she said.

There was a nearly 15-month gap from the accident until Bradshaw was charged.  In an email exchange, Kennedy explained reasons for delays, and his department’s push for a plea deal. The accident occurred in the midst of the Covid pandemic. Getting the toxicology report back took months, due to funding and staffing issues at the crime lab. It was also a complex case, with some 4,300 pages of medical records, which among other things required that medical experts be retained, he said.

There are benefits to a plea deal, Kennedy said. It bypasses risks associated with a trial, such as an acquittal, a mistrial, a hung jury, or reversal on appeal. Importantly, it also avoided the possibility of re-traumatizing the surviving girl who lost her friend, as she likely would have needed to appear in court. 

“It is important for the victims, their families, and their tribes, that we were ultimately able to bring them the justice that they deserve,” said Kennedy. “Unfortunately, this case perfectly illustrates how frustrating the criminal justice system can be with respect to how long it can take to finally bring a case to conclusion.”