Florida woman who smiled in mugshot sentenced for fatal DUI crash

Angenette Marie Welk sentenced to 11 years in prison

By Daniel Dahm - Digital Manager

MARION COUNTY, Fla. - A 45-year-old Florida woman was sentenced Thursday for her role in a crash that claimed the life of a 60-year-old.

Angenette Marie Welk, who pleaded no contest to a charge of driving under the influence manslaughter, was sentenced to 11 years in prison. She was also fined $5,000 and given 15 years of probation. In addition, Welk must write a letter every year in May documenting what she's learned from the crash.

Officials said Welk, who married days after the fatal crash and is also known as Angenette Missett, had a blood alcohol level of 0.189 when she crashed into Sandra Clarkston's vehicle in Marion County in May 2018 at 73 mph.

Investigators said they found an empty vodka bottle in her car.

Welk further made headlines because her mugshot, taken after the fatal crash, showed her with a big smile.

"I would like to start by saying how sorry I am for this tragic loss. You’ve lost a mother, a sister, an aunt, a loved one. I don’t have the words," Welk said at her sentencing hearing. 

Earlier, she explained what happened.

“Moments before the collision, my phone slipped out of my hands and I saw a car and I served,” said Welk, who added that she had consumed alcohol because she was stressed, but said she felt fine.

Welk's oldest daughter also testified.

"I love you and you're still going to be my mom. I know people make mistakes. Yes, she did something horrible and I do apologize to the family," she said.

"The person who smiled in that mugshot is not the person that I know," said Leyla Claros, Welk's friend.

Welk's attorney said there was a reason she was smiling in the mugshot.

"How do you act when you get nervous?" the attorney asked.

"I smile and giggle," Welk said.

Clarkston’s twin brother was one of four family members to take the stand. He was in tears as he showed pictures of his sister.

"I lost a piece of me that I will never get back," said Clarkston's daughter, Keonna. "Knowing that the defendant was driving drunk makes me sick."

Welk faced a maximum sentence of 17 years in prison.

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