EASTON, Pa. | The Northampton County woman sentenced last year in the fatal drowsy-driving crash of a 22-year-old is being released from prison.
Northampton County Judge Michael Koury sentenced Susan Queen, of Walnutport, last summer to six to 24 months for causing the June 2017 crash that killed Alana Hein in Lehigh Township. The 72-year-old pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and a series of summary traffic offenses. Authorities said Queen fell asleep at the wheel when she crossed into oncoming traffic along Route 145 in near Treichlers Bridge.
The judge sentenced Queen on July 24 to a county jail sentence. During a very brief hearing on Wednesday, her defense attorney asked the judge to approve her parole.
The county probation department said she's met all the requirements for early release and recommended Queen be paroled. The judge approved the request, and Queen will be released from custody on Friday.
She will remain on probation for three years.
In September, defense attorney Bohdan Zelechiwsky tried unsuccessfully to have Queen serve the balance of her sentence on house arrest, citing medical issues. About a week after hearing testimony, Koury denied the motion.
The fatal crash occurred as Queen's Chevy Equinox was headed north on Route 145 just north of Blue Mountain Drive. Police said Queen's vehicle crossed over the double-yellow line, colliding with Hein's southbound Kia Optima.
A witness told investigators that she was driving behind Queen, when she saw her Equinox swerve into the southbound lane and crash into Hein's car, according to court records. Police said that area of Route 145, also known as Riverview Drive, has rumble strips in the center of the road, alerting motorists when they've crossed the double-yellow line, according to records.
Queen told police after the crash that she had just worked a 6 a.m. to noon shift at a Giant grocery store and said she felt tired. She allegedly told an officer that she should have pulled over but instead decided to start singing to remain alert, according to records.
Queen allegedly said the same thing to paramedics and a doctor at St. Luke's University Hospital. EMTs reported that Queen said she fell asleep and woke up to being thrown around the inside of her car.
A review of airbag control data by Pennsylvania State Police reportedly found Queen's car accelerated slightly from 43 mph to 49 mph during her drive and that she didn't apply the brakes in the split seconds before the wreck.