For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4307 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)
The Washoe County District Attorney's Office has announced the sentencing of a defendant to prison, holding her accountable for severely injuring two young Washoe County men in a December, 2014 DUI accident. Nicole Gabrielle Cote, 24 from Sun Valley was convicted in a felony driving under the influence (DUI) trial in August, 2016 and was sentenced yesterday to 20 years in prison.
Cote was found guilty of two counts of DUI Causing Substantial Bodily Harm and two counts of Reckless Driving Causing Substantial Bodily Harm. She was sentenced to two consecutive 10 year terms for each of the DUI charges and two concurrent 4 year terms for each reckless driving charge. Based on the sentence, Cote will serve a minimum of 5 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole.
The case against Cote began on December 19, 2014 when the Reno Police Department was dispatched to the scene of a major injury accident that occurred at the intersection of Delucchi Lane and South Virginia. The investigation determined that prior to the collision Cote had rear ended a nearby vehicle in heavy traffic and screamed at the other driver before fleeing the scene. Cote then sped southbound on Virginia Street almost sideswiping another vehicle, swerved over the concrete median dividing traffic and straddled the barrier attempting to regain control. Cote then accelerated off the median and into the right turn lane heading into the Whole Foods Parking lot. Her vehicle was estimated to have reached over 60 miles per hour before it hit the passenger side of an oncoming car, severely injuring its two male occupants. The driver of the vehicle Cote hit suffered seven broken ribs, three broken vertebrae, a lacerated kidney and a punctured lung. His 19 year old passenger suffered a traumatic brain injury. He was in a coma for approximately one month and had to learn to walk and talk again. The Reno Police Department ultimately requested a warrant for Cote and she was arrested. This office subsequently filed formal criminal charges and the case proceeded to trial.
At sentencing, Deputy District Attorney Michael Bolenbaker presented testimony from the passenger detailing the struggles he has endured since the accident including learning to speak and walk again.