MIAMI-DADE COUTNY, Fla. – Sitting in a Miami-Dade courtroom Wednesday morning Jihan Haidar brushed away tears from her face.
In the background a tribute played for her husband, Naji El Kadi, who was killed in 2016 when Jessica Araujo, 26, crashed into him. In court, Araujo plead guilty to DUI manslaughter, and the emotion of being in the courtroom was overwhelming for Haidar.
The couple had gotten married in a private ceremony and was planning a larger celebration with friends and family just days before the crash.
"Naji passed away just two days before our wedding. I helped him pick his suit and it was the same suit he wore on his funeral," Haidar, 48, said.
Araujo sped through a red light and crashed into El Kadi’s car when he was only a few minutes away from home.
"I pray that one day I’m forgiven. I pray that the Lord opens your hearts and sees how deeply remorseful I am," Araujo said in court.
After she plead guilty to Araujo vowed to use the death of El Kadi as a learning tool to spread awareness about the consequences of drinking and driving.
"I make it a life promise to use this event, which has impacted and changed both of our lives, to impact others," she said. "To bring a stop to irresponsible decisions. To bring a stop to drinking and driving and to save a life instead of taking one. I am so sorry." For Haidar and her family, that apology wasn’t enough.
"I have people stop by and old men cry and talk about Naji, and how helpful he was and how genuine he was and how dedicated he was," she said.
Araujo is set to be sentenced on Oct. 27. She could receive between 10 to 20 years in prison.