Professional skateboarder Cory Kennedy, 27, has been sentenced to 48 months in prison and 369 days of home monitoring after pleading guilty to multiple charges stemming from an Aug. 30, 2017, crash on the island that killed Kennedy’s friend, skateboarder and videographer Preston Maigetter, and injured another.
The three men were reportedly coming home after working and an evening out, with Kennedy behind the wheel and driving too fast to negotiate the curve at Thorsen and Bank Roads. The car slid out of control into two trees, and Maigetter, who had recently moved to Vashon with his wife and two young sons, sitting in the front passenger seat, was killed instantly. Allan Wade, the other passenger, suffered a broken foot, and Kennedy was uninjured. King County Sheriff’s investigators determined that the car had been traveling at “highway speed” in the area that has a 15 mph limit designated for the corner, and that Kennedy had been driving under the influence of alcohol, which was confirmed by a breath test at the scene and a blood test drawn several hours after the crash.
Kennedy, who has, according to prosecutors, a notable history of speeding infractions, was charged and pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, driving while under the influence and reckless driving. A charge of vehicular homicide while under the influence typically carries an eight- to 11-year sentence, according to King County prosecutors; however, KIRO News 7 reported that Kennedy supporters, including Maigetter’s mother and Wade, helped convince the judge to hand down a much lighter sentence. The judge in the case received 28 letters of support for Kennedy, many asking that he not receive any jail time at all.
But Judge Teresa Doyle made it clear to a courtroom crowded with supporters that was not an option, during Kennedy’s sentencing hearing on Aug. 31.
“It’s this concern about having a sentence that reflects the seriousness of the behavior. The disastrous effect on families and the community. And it is this deterrence that the law seeks to have reflected in this sentence,” she said.
Anna Cobb, Maigetter’s widow, was the other factor in the judge’s decision to forego a maximum sentence, after she met with prosecutors to ask for leniency for Kennedy.
“You know, I don’t want anything bad to happen to anyone,” she said in a recent conversation with The Beachcomber. “It’s hard to know what to say about it. It’s not really relevant what any of us want; the law is the law. You break the law, and there are consequences. I hope Cory eventually can put this tragedy behind him and that he comes back as the positive person he was in the Vashon community.”
She added that Kennedy was not the only one in the car that made poor decisions that night.
“You know, when you’ve been drinking, you don’t always make the best choices. I wish he (Preston aka P-Stone, Big Dog) would have called me that night to pick them all up. Alcohol affects everyone’s decision-making. If there is a way for something positive to come of this tragedy, if we can make people think and they make that call to get a ride instead of driving … being angry is easy but it is not going to bring anyone back.”
Cobb plans to remain living on Vashon with their children, noting that the family had moved around quite a bit before coming here, and that she felt it was important for the boys that they settle into schools and a community.
“We are so grateful for the support we have received from this community over the past year,” she said. “The warmth, kindness, strength and the incredible meal train that was set up has been amazing.”
Cobb also has family in the area.
For his part, a visibly distraught Kennedy stated at the sentencing hearing, “This will forever be the biggest mistake of my life.”
With Cobb and her children, Kennedy family members, his girlfriend and many young supporters all living on the island, she believes that what’s important, moving forward, is to take care of each other.
“It is what it is. An accident happened, and nothing will bring Preston back,” she said tearfully. “I just hope everyone can get down to the business of healing. It’s sad all around, for his (Kennedy’s) family as well. We all feel the pain from this, and my heart is with them too.”
Kennedy is already in Department of Corrections’ custody. KIRO News 7 reported, and Cobb noted, he could be released as early as April 2021.