A judge denied a motion Wednesday to dismiss the charges against a 25-year-old woman involved in a traffic accident that killed a Macclenny youth pastor in September 2011.
State troopers said Holly King's car sideswiped a vehicle 32-year-old Todd Annis and his wife were driving in on Interstate 10. Annis was ejected, and now King is facing charges of driving with a suspended license and careless driving.
She was initially charged with driving with a suspended license involving death, but that felony charge was dismissed because of a legal technicality. The judge today had to decide if King should face the misdemeanor charges.
"Everything leading up to this point has been kind of disappointing after everything that has happened so far, but thankfully for once, it's going in the right direction," Todd's widow, Lauren Annis, said after Wednesday's hearing.
She said she was unable to sit in the courtroom because the pain of losing a husband and the memories still cut too deep. Her family attended the hearing, though King did not after her attorneys waived her right to appear.
Defense attorneys argued that the charges against King be dismissed, claiming her right to a speedy trial had been violated. But a judge sided against them, setting a trial date for early August.
Troopers say King lost control of her vehicle and sideswiped the Annises car, flipping it over and killing Todd. Lauren said every day without him hurts.
"I just got off a couple of mission trips and I couldn't help but thinking that I was really missing him," she said. "Every time he was there, he was with me, doing ministry with me."
Police said King racked up nearly a dozen citations over the last two and half years, which include speeding, careless driving and not having a valid driver's license.
The family of the youth pastor said Annis is deeply missed in Macclenny. Their prayer is that King will soon be held responsible.
"Todd taught that every action -- and he dealt with a lot of troubled kids -- he taught every action has a consequence," said Barbara O'Neal, Annis' mother-in-law.
"To me she's already been thrown a lifeline by backing it down to a misdemeanor by a loophole in the law," Lauren Annis said of King. "I don't' understand why she can't take responsibility."