Most DUIs come from the driver committing a driving offense that leads a police officer to suspect that they are intoxicated. While DUIs account for 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the United States, many drivers are caught before they can become involved in an accident. Once an accident does occur, however, the penalties for DUI can quickly become much more severe. If there are serious injuries involved, a DUI-related accident can become a felony in California. If the accident involves a fatality, those charges can quickly escalate to a felony. If convicted, this felony counts under California’s “three strikes” law and can result in several years in prison.
The Mercury News reports that a woman has taken a 15-year plea deal the DUI deaths of a father and his infant daughter.
36-year-old Jessica Ann Martin was sentenced to just shy of 15 years in prison. The sentencing comes after Martin accepted a plea deal where she pleaded no contest to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter, DUI, and other charges. Martin had been facing two murder charges. If convicted, she would be facing 30 years to life.
The charges stem from an accident that occurred at about 6:45 p.m. on October 25, 2018. Martin was traveling south at the South Broadway extension from southbound Interstate 680. She crashed head-on into one vehicle and then nearly head-on into another.
The crash injured four people and killed 45-year-old Hector Garza almost instantly. 8-month-old Camilla Rose Garza died from her injuries a few days after the crash.
At the sentencing hearing, members of Garza’s family, including his widow, gave victim impact statements. The people who were injured in the accident spoke as well. Martin also spoke, telling victims that she wished she could turn back the clock and that she was apologetic for causing the accident.
Martin will be transferred to state prison in the next few days.