KGET reports that a woman convicted of DUI tearfully apologized to the friends and family of a teen girl who died in a DUI crash in 2019.
Expressing her remorse during her sentencing hearing in Kern County Superior Court on Tuesday, Heidi Jerimiah said there was not a day that went by that she didn’t think about the innocent life her actions took. Jerimiah told the family that she wanted to live each day to honor the girl and hoped they would forgive her one day.
“I’m sorry,” Jerimiah said before taking a seat.
The fatal crash happened on October 25, 2019, on the girl’s 17th birthday. Investigators say that Jerimiah was driving her BMW when she hit the girl who was walking along Highway 155. Despite all life-saving efforts, the girl died at the scene.
Toxicology tests taken after the fatal crash indicated that Jerimiah had a blood-alcohol level of .17% – more than twice the legal limit of 0.8 %.
Friends and family were allowed to make impact statements. One friend told the court how she had witnessed the defendant, who was on bail at the time, purchasing alcohol on numerous occasions. The testimony caused an outburst by some in attendance, who were surprised at the girl’s revelation.
A deputy warned attendees to remain quiet or they would be removed from the courtroom.
Kern County Superior Court Judge Judith K. Dulcich sentenced Jerimiah to four years in prison. The friend who offered testimony felt that it was not nearly enough time for Jerimiah.
Prosecutor William Schlaerth said in a statement that no one could be sure how the judge would rule given that Jerimiah made an open plea with no indicated sentence. Still the prosecutor was relieved that Jerimiah would be facing prison time.
“If you drink, drive, and you kill, you should go to prison,” Schlaerth said.