Cristen Danielle Hamilton was sentenced to seven years in prison on Wednesday in the 2019 DWI death of TCU Assistant Dean Jamie Dulle.
Hamilton, 37, pleaded guilty to intoxication manslaughter.
Dulle was a single mother of two who had lost her husband to cancer. She then moved from Ohio to work at TCU as assistant dean of campus life.
On March 10, 2019, Hamilton crashed into Dulle’s car from behind while driving westbound on Rosedale Street. Despite wearing a seatbelt, the impact caused Dulle’s body to strike a light pole.
Hamilton was originally charged with intoxication assault, but the charge was later changed to intoxication manslaughter with a vehicle after Dulle died of her injuries.
The 37-year-old also pleaded “true” to the deadly weapon finding in her case, which made her ineligible for probation. A plea of “true” is an admission to the alleged delinquent conduct in question.
Hamilton has to serve at least half of her sentence to be eligible for parole.
Tarrant County Judge Scott Wisch said Hamilton was a former medical student who “made one mistake, distressed about not making good enough grades to stay in her school, went out drinking, and then got behind the wheel of a car.”
“Nobody wins here today,” said Wisch in a release.
Hamilton’s father, Carl Hamilton, apologized to the Dulle family and explained that the family was “not asking for mercy or a reduced sentence for our daughter, we’re only asking for forgiveness.”
After her death, TCU students mourned the loss of the assistant dean.
“You never know when you’re going to leave. It’s always important to make a positive impact while you’re here. And I think that she did and that’s why people are coming out to show their condolences. I definitely do,” said TCU student Devon Berry.
According to her family, Dulle was an organ donor and saved five lives through donations.
Kathy Cavins-Tull, vice chancellor for student affairs at TCU, was the first to testify at Hamilton’s sentencing. She and her husband have stepped in as caretakers for Dulle’s young boys. She described the assistant dean as full of promise.
“She did it all. Devoted to her sons, devoted to the students, and a champion of the TCU athletic department, helping athletes through times of crisis,” said Tull.
Before she passed, Hamilton was able to fulfill her husband’s dying wish to complete her doctoral program.