GENEVA COUNTY, Ala (WDHN)— After hearing testimonies of drinking and spouse abuse in a courtroom, a Geneva County judge has sentenced the former Elba elementary school principal, who pled guilty in September, to 10 years in prison.

Debra Strickland, 39, of Samson was accused of causing a crash on Geneva County Highway 87, near Samson in June 2021. The crash injured four women who were taken to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.

The victims of the crash testified virtually from their homes in Kentucky, where they described their significant injuries from the accident and said they do not want Strickland to get probation or an alternative sentence.

Strickland’s two daughters testified on behalf of the defense. Both stated Strickland’s husband would mentally and physically abuse her every day, which caused her to start drinking.

According to Alabama State Trooper Pate Nelson, after the crash, he found an open bottle of alcohol in the front passenger seat of Strickland’s car. She fled the scene of the accident but was found later off Highway 87, North of Samson.

Strickland says she had been drinking the day of the accident and her husband was once again violent towards her. She says she knew not to drink and drive, but she couldn’t find anyone to drive her.

One of the daughters said Strickland was unable to get a protection order from her abuser. She also requested a wellness check be performed for Strickland on the day of the accident.

In September, Strickland, 39, of Samson plead guilty to one count of assault in the second degree and one count of assault in the third degree.

After the accident, Strickland lost her position and teaching license.