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Watch now: Before being sent to prison, Virginia woman made video about her tragic choices leading to fatal DUI crash

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Kaylin Stine will be spending the next seven years of her life in a state prison.

But before learning of her punishment three weeks ago in a Chesterfield County courtroom, the 24-year-old Midlothian woman took the unusual step of recording a video that candidly detailed the troubling series of bad decisions she made that led to the death of a woman she knew: Jordan Barksdale, 23.

Stine’s decision to drink and drive was compounded after police determined she was distracted by her cellphone at the time of the 10:28 p.m. crash.

As Stine acknowledged in her three-minute video, she was checking her phone to see the location of her boyfriend, whom she believed was coming home to surprise her. Stine’s boyfriend, a member of the Virginia National Guard, had been sent to Washington, D.C., after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

At the moment Stine checked her phone, her 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee drifted across the double yellow line into the opposite lane and collided with Barksdale. Stine’s blood alcohol level was measured at 0.215% — more than twice the presumptive legal intoxication level to drive.

“On this day, I destroyed the lives of her family and her friends,” Stine said in her video, recorded days before being sent to prison. “I’m a felon for the rest of my life. My actions are completely irresponsible, and the damage has already been done. The worst part of this process is not only living with myself with what happened, and destroying so many lives, but throughout this, the legal system has prevented me from apologizing in person or through letter to her family or to her friends.”

After the crash, Stine sought to volunteer with Mothers Against Drunk Driving. But the organization advised Stine that she could not participate in MADD activities until completing her prison term and finishing probation upon release, said Stine’s attorney, John Luxton.

Luxton said Stine made the video, which was played during her July 11 sentencing hearing, as a teaching tool that MADD could use in anti-drunken driving campaigns.

The video, however, was small consolation to Barksdale’s family and friends, who described in testimony how her death had forever impacted their lives.

Kaylin Stine and Jordan Barksdale

Kaylin Stine (left), convicted of manslaughter and DUI charges in the Jan. 30, 2021, crash that killed Jordan Barksdale, 23 (right), will serve seven years in prison.

The video was an unexpected surprise to prosecutors and Barksdale’s family, and because of its then-unknown content, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Matthew Gravens urged Barksdale’s family members to leave the courtroom, Barksdale’s mother, Staci, said Saturday. “He was fearful for what it may include,” she said.

Staci Barksdale said she, her husband and her son, along with her niece, left the courtroom; other family supporters stayed.

Barksdale said Gravens and the family’s victim-advocate told family members after the hearing that they believed the video was made for self-serving purposes to elicit sympathy from the judge.

“The selfish, irresponsible, law-breaking actions of one person who willingly got behind the wheel of a vehicle, while under the influence of alcohol, and without any regard for the life and safety of others has taken our daughter from us,” Staci Barksdale said at Stine’s sentencing hearing.

“It breaks my heart to think that Jordan’s death could have been prevented by having a designated driver, or if Miss Stine had just stayed the night where she was,” Barksdale testified. “After all, that night she was offered both options by her friends who said this wasn’t the first time Miss Stine was in this position. But she still chose to drive with a blood alcohol content of more than double the legal amount, to get home to her dogs.”

At the time of her death, Jordan Barksdale was working full time for the Chesterfield Treasurer’s Office, although she had started taking classes four nights a week to complete a degree to become a surgical technician. She previously had taken classes at a local community college, completing general studies courses and prerequisites for nursing.

Barksdale said her daughter had been in a relationship with her boyfriend for nearly a year, and “they were building a life together and she had hopes of getting married and having a family of her own.”’

“My daughter Jordan was a beautiful, tall blonde with big blue eyes and a smile that looked like sunshine,” Barksdale said. “A smart, kind, loving young woman with so much to look forward to.”

Stine and Jordan Barksdale grew up in the same community but didn’t attend the same schools, and they also had mutual friends, Staci Barksdale noted.

“They were not real close to where they hung out together,” Barksdale said, “but they would [on occasion] be at the same functions or same places ... and maybe mingle with mutual friends.”

A psychologist who testified on Stine’s behalf at her sentencing hearing said she was “very depressed” when she came in for a session and took full responsibility for her actions, Luxton said.

“The psychologist said that most people that come in kind of minimize what really happened,” Luxton said. “The psychologist said she was spot on and didn’t hide anything [and] was completely devastated by what she had done. She was completely remorseful and showed sympathy for everybody she has harmed.”

According to the prosecution’s summary of evidence, Stine admitted to police she had consumed numerous drinks with friends, beginning early to mid-afternoon, at Barrio Taqueria in Richmond, Plaza Azteca in Chesterfield and at a friend’s house in the hours leading to the crash in the 20400 block of River Road.

A motorist came upon the crash scene and attempted to render aid. He found Stine had exited her vehicle, telling him she was okay. He called 911 and turned his attention to Barksdale, who was trapped inside her vehicle and largely unresponsive.

After officers arrived and encountered Stine, she had slurred speech and smelled of alcohol. She did not directly answer the officers’ questions, but showed concern for the driver and wanted to know if she was OK.

After Barksdale died, an investigating officer retraced Stine’s steps and retrieved receipts at the locations Stine stopped on the day of the crash. The waitress at Barrio’s advised that Stine had consumed four mixed tequila and mezcal cocktails and one shot of tequila. At Plaza Azteca, a surveillance video showed Stine with a “Beer-rita,” a margarita with an upside-down beer inside.

The officer also obtained videos from a gas station that showed Stine purchased two White Claw hard seltzers.

Finally, the officer spoke with Stine’s friend who hosted the gathering at night’s end, and the friend and the friend’s boyfriend said Stine was drunk and they asked her multiple times to stay overnight and not drive. But Stine indicated she had to get home for her dogs. Stine also was offered a ride home, but she refused.

At the March 24 hearing where Stine pleaded guilty to aggravated involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence, Luxton told the court that Stine was immediately remorseful after the crash.

As Stine was outside her Jeep with a broken ankle, a police body camera captured her anguish. “She would say, ‘Please tell me how that person is doing. Is she going to be okay? This is my fault.’”

On July 11, Circuit Judge Jayne Pemberton sentenced Stine to 20 years in prison with 13 years suspended, leaving her seven years to serve. The punishment was at the high end of discretionary state sentencing guidelines.

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