PRESS RELEASE Siskiyou County District Attorney Office
J. Kirk Andrus, District Attorney
Yreka. On March 21, 2023, Gabriel James Wood, 36, of Weed, was sentenced for inflicting traumatic injury upon his wife Sara Wood in a case of domestic violence that led to the loss of her leg. He was also sentenced for a previous case of misdemeanor domestic violence and two instances of driving with at least .08% blood alcohol. He admitted guilt for all of these charges on January 24, 2023.
On February 18, 2022, Wood and his wife Sara and a friend were returning to Weed from the casino in Yreka when Wood and his wife began to argue. Wood was driving their Suburban. Sara reported that wood forced her out of the vehicle and to the ground on the side of the Interstate in the area of the guard rail. While she was getting up off the ground, Wood got back into the driver’s seat and drove the Suburban into the victim, pinning her to the guardrail and crushing her leg. He then backed up and did it again. After Wood backed up the vehicle the second time, she crawled over the guard rail so that she could not be hit again.
Both men immediately ran over to her and Wood, panicked and apologizing, drove her to the hospital as fast as Wood could drive. Sara reported that Gabe constantly exclaimed that he couldn’t believe what he’d done. While the victim was treated in the emergency room, Wood stayed ni the waiting room. When Highway Patrol Officers contacted him, he was sitting in the waiting room with his wife’s blood and tissue on his clothing. Sara was transported to Redding for treatment, which ultimately included amputation of most of her leg. She now lives with a prosthesis.
Wood had previously been convicted of a felony assault charge from 2016, as well as two misdemeanor charges from 2017 with Sara as the victim. He had been convicted of driving under the influence 3 times between 2007 and 2009 in Oregon. With his current case he plead guilty to a misdemeanor for assaulting Sara on June 6, 2019. He also pled guilty to 2 cases of driving with at least .08% blood alcohol from 2021.
In preparation for his sentencing hearing, and after over a year in Jail, Wood expressed that he was sorry for what he had done. “I would do anything to be able to change the events that happened that night. It haunts me every time I close my eyes.” He noted that he prays for forgiveness and hopes, “my wife and children will [forgive me] one day.” He noted that his focus is now to make changes and be a better person and father. He also acknowledged the damage that alcohol has done to his life and the need to remain sober in the future.
According to District Attorney Kirk Andrus, Mayhem is a crime that describes this injury, as it involves removing or permanently damaging or disfiguring a part of a person’s body. “It is generally the sentencing equivalent of attempted murder,” he noted. “In this case my primary concern was punishment for this unthinkable crime and to fulfill the wishes of the victim Sara Wood, who has had to live through this nightmare. She is a tough, resilient woman who adamantly did not want Gabriel to lose the rest of his life over this, though she agreed that he should have a severe punishment. But mostly I marvel at Sara and how she has endured the hard times with a remarkable attitude.”
At the time of sentencing, Sara reported that she is happy to be alive and to have beautiful children who have suffered this loss with her. She expressed her prayers for those suffering with domestic violence and substance abuse, noting that it, “doesn’t just affect the individuals involved.” She noted that the only justice she seeks is the feeling of freedom and expressed hope for the future.
Mr. Andrus observed that there were warning signs much earlier in this relationship involving substance abuse and violence. “Sara and her family lives are now changed because the defendant did not deal with his issues earlier. This case is an example of the possible outcome when warning signs do not change one’s course. Friends, family members, victims and perpetrators should all realize that it does nobody any favors to overlook such problems in a relationship.”
Wood was sentenced to the maximum of 8 years in state prison for Mayhem and 180 days in jail for the misdemeanor offenses.