Alcoholism activist sentenced in drunken-driving accident

ELLENSBURG, Wash. - The woman who founded a national organization based on the premise that problem drinkers can learn to limit their alcohol use was sentenced Friday to 4 years in prison for killing two people while driving drunk.

Audrey Kishline, 43, apologized to the family of Richard Davis and his 12-year-old daughter, LaShell, saying she will feel guilty about their deaths for the rest of her life.

Kishline pleaded guilty in June to two counts of vehicular homicide. A third charge of hit-and-run driving was dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

Police said Kishline was driving the wrong way down Interstate 90 on March 25 when she smashed head-on into Davis' car near Cle Elum, 71 miles east of Seattle. Her blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit, police said.

Since the accident, Kishline, who started Moderation Management in 1993, has disavowed the movement and removed herself as spokeswoman. She also had undergone treatment for alcoholism.

Kishline said pride and fear of publicity had kept her from seeking help earlier.

Before Kishline's decision to join Alcoholics Anonymous in January, she was a vocal spokeswoman for Moderation Management, which calls itself an alternative to AA, allowing problem drinkers to cut down on drinking rather than quit.

Members of the 50 volunteer-run groups go through a nine-step program, which allows nine drinks per week for women and 14 for men. The group, which considers drinking learned and not a disease, discourages those with serious drinking problems from joining and does not allow drinking and driving.

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