Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include Gruwell was also sentenced to serve 180 days in jail in addition to probation and community service.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — A woman was sentenced to 180 days in jail, 10 years probation and 300 hours of community service after pleading guilty to intoxication manslaughter with a vehicle Tuesday after she hit and killed someone who was riding a moped in 2018.
Olivia Gruwell, 25, also had her driver’s license revoked permanently and has to pay $425 in court fees as part of her sentence.
“Miss Gruwell was a first-time offender,” her attorney Kyle Lowe said. “Had never been in trouble, which is very common in these intoxication manslaughter cases. It’s an accident.”
Gruwell was 21 years old at the time when she hit and killed Timothy Boykin, who was riding a moped Feb. 9, 2018 on Red River Street. According to the arrest affidavit, Gruwell admitted to “drinking 6-9 alcoholic drinks at various bars in Austin before driving home.” Both were going north on Red River Street when Gruwell hit Boykin from behind, the affidavit said.
The crash happened around 3 a.m., the affidavit said, and Gruwell didn’t stop after she hit Boykin. Police found Boykin on the side of the road, and when Gruwell’s vehicle was found after the crash, Boykin’s moped was still underneath it. The affidavit also said she hit her neighbor’s fence after arriving home.
Lowe said he’s had similar cases go to trial with similar sentences. He also believes Gruwell avoided significant jail time, because he said Travis County is more “progressive” than others in the state.
“The jurors or prosecutors, they’ll offer something that leans more towards rehabilitation or lesser sentences, less penal,” he said.
He told KXAN Boykin’s family wanted to meet with Gruwell prior to the sentencing.
“Very progressive,” he said. “They wanted to talk to her and ask her some questions and find out what kind of person she was and vice versa.”
They had multiple mediated exchanges ahead of the sentencing. When it was time for Boykin’s loved ones to speak during the hearing “a friend of Mr. Boykin took the stand and was actually very kind and supportive of Olivia Gruwell,” said Lowe.