A Tuolumne County probation officer found Diane Anderson deceitful and her apology to those hurt in a triple fatal collision caused by her husband disingenuous.
The Union Democrat obtained the 21-page probation report from Superior Court that also said she was more worried about “being sued and the threat to her comfortable lifestyle” than being honest.
The probation officer wrote that Anderson expressed empathy for the victims and regrets for her conduct after the collision, yet the officer believed the comments were insincere.
“Mrs. Anderson continued being deceitful throughout her trial and when discussing the incident with this officer for this report. Mrs. Anderson does not appear genuinely sorry for her involvement in this matter nor has she shown any true compassion for the victim’s families,” the report said.
Anderson was accused of concealing the role of her husband, Danny Anderson, in causing a collision between a southbound Lexus RX300 and a northbound Toyota Camry after he passed two cars going northbound over double yellow lines on the rural La Grange highway J-59.
On Sept. 10, a jury of seven women and five men in San Joaquin County found her guilty of the felonies of accessory after the fact to vehicular manslaughter and failure to perform a duty after an accident and misdemeanors concealing or destroying evidence and obstructing a law enforcement investigation.
She was temporarily in the custody of the San Joaquin County Jail before being transferred to the Tuolumne County Jail before her sentencing on Oct. 7. She was denied bail before her sentencing and her days in jail were credited to her sentence.
During the interview with a probation officer in September, she claimed her trial testimony — that her medications caused her to “doze” through her husband’s pass — was truthful.
“The defendant said she was shocked by the guilty verdict and believed if she told the truth everything would be ‘okay,’” the report said.
Though she didn’t make the admission during trial, she did say during the interview her husband passed vehicles before the collision. But she maintained her conviction that he was not responsible for the collision.
“She reported her husband had never lied to her,” the probation report said.
She also said she regretted not contacting the CHP when they were looking for a vehicle that matched the description of their Acura MDX.
When she discussed calling law enforcement with Danny Anderson, he told her the vehicle they were looking for fled the scene. Because they did not believe they fled the scene, they did not call.
“She said the ‘bottom line’ was that three lives were lost that day,” the report said.
The report, which is a public document for 60 days after sentencing, set a sentencing recommendation for Seibert to consider.
The probation department recommended she serve one year in county jail and five years probation.
A prison term was not recommended because she had no criminal history, her age, health issues and was in the low-risk category for reoffending.
“This was a very difficult case and highly emotional case… Mrs. Anderson was once considered a well-respected member of the community. Her culpability and fabricated lies were not overlooked,” the report said. “... although the recommendation was difficult, it was well-thought-out and staffed among multiple probation officers.”
The report included Diane Anderson’s wish to spend time with her grandchildren and deal with medical issues.
“She said she wanted to feel better and be healthy again,” the report said.
Anderson is less than two months into her sentence: 10 months in the Tuolumne County Jail, 30 days of work release, 90 days of home electronic monitoring, 300 hours of community service and five years of probation. She will also serve one day of electronic monitoring and 10 hours of community service for every day of the work release she cannot complete.
Her husband has been serving his sentence in California Institution for Men in Chino since January.
He was convicted of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, reckless driving and hit and run.
He will be eligible for parole in August 2020.