A 20-year-old woman charged with DUI manslaughter accepted a plea deal that will see her serve three years in prison.
On Friday, a tearful Ivanna Villanueva pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and DUI manslaughter. Per the plea deal, she will serve three years in prison as a youthful offender followed by 15 years probation.
READ: Plea deal |
"We did not want to go and risk that she might walk for free," said Brenda Vazquez, Eyder Ayala's daughter.
In 2011, police said Villanueva, driving with a fake ID and under the influence, slammed into Ayala's car at the intersection of LeJeune Road and Majorca Avenue in Coral Gables. The impact killed Ayala, 68, almost instantly.
"I forgive her (Villanueva) for the pain she has caused me, but forgiving does not take away accountability," said Jose Ayala, Jr., the victim's son.
--Pictured: Eyder Ayala
"Ms. Villanueva showed no regard when she drove 102 mph and crashed violently into the only thing that protected my mom's vulnerable body," said Vazquez.
In the account of events Villanueva wrote for Coral Gables police in the hours after the Oct. 2 crash, she gave no clue to what her blood alcohol results would eventually show: that she was almost three times the legal limit.
She wrote that it was her turn to be "designated driver" for her friends as they spent their night partying at several clubs inside the Fontainebleau Hotel. Villanueva wrote that she decided to leave to make her 4 a.m. curfew.
"That could be someone else's grandma, child, wife," said Bernadette Sadeek, Ayala's granddaughter, adding that Villanueva's family pushed them for leniency.
Villanueva left the court silently after the hearing ended.
In addition to the prison term and probation, Villanueva must also donate to Mothers Against Drunk Driving on Oct. 2, the anniversary of the crash, in the amount equal to how old Ayala would have been that year.
Villanueva remains under house arrest until she turns herself in to begin her prison sentence on June 18.