Home / National News / Woman who pleaded guilty to running over US sailor: 'I deeply regret what happened'


(VISTA COUNTY, Calif.) — The California woman who pleaded guilty after fatally mowing down a U.S. sailor with her car in an apparent road rage incident opened up about the anguish she now feels about what happened.

“It turned out terribly for everyone involved,” Darla Jackson, 27, told ABC News’ 20/20 in an interview at Vista County Jail. “I deeply regret what happened.”

She was charged with first-degree murder after a highway altercation with 39-year-old Navy Chief Petty Officer Zach Buob on his motorcycle on May 28, 2015, that ended in his death.

Earlier this year, Jackson pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to six years in prison.

“My daughter doesn’t have her mother and won’t for a very long time,” she said through tears.

Prosecutors said Jackson, who was driving a Nissan Altima, cut off Buob while traveling northbound on Interstate 5 near San Diego, and the two got into an argument. Jackson said he drove his red motorcycle aggressively, made hand gestures at her and kicked the side of her car, and that she chased him down, following him from I-5 onto state Route 54. Her attorney, Stephen Cline, said Buob’s kick was hard enough to leave a dent and a shoe print.

“She couldn’t believe that he had done it,” Cline told 20/20, adding that Jackson decided to follow him to get the license plate number.

But her decision to follow Buob ended badly. Another motorist captured a few seconds of her high-speed chase on video.

“What happens is, he slows down. … The driver doesn’t react fast enough to that to gauge how much he’s slowing down,” Cline said. “So the nose of her car literally rolls up onto the back wheel of the motorcycle.”

Police said the car and motorcycle skidded together for about 315 feet before they became dislodged and Buob hit the ground. Jackson said she swerved to avoid hitting the bike but ended up running over him. He died at a hospital.

On Thursday, Jackson said she knows she never should have gotten that close to his motorcycle and that the situation was avoidable.

“I let my pride get the best of me,” Jackson said. “I shouldn’t have been speeding. I shouldn’t have been negligent.”

Watch the full story on ABC News’ 20/20 on Friday, June 30, at 10 p.m. ET.

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