KEY WEST, Fla. – As friends and relatives of Delray Beach Police Officer Christine Braswell spoke at Monroe County Court Judge Mark Jones' courtroom Friday, Lacy Morris was in tears.
Morris, 33, the drunken driver accused of killing Braswell, accepted a plea deal to serve 10 years in prison for DUI manslaughter, DUI causing serious bodily injury, DUI with property damage and possession of marijuana under 20 grams.
Braswell was 40 years old when doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital Ryder Trauma Center pronounced her dead April 8, 2017. Bernenda Marc, Braswell's friend and fellow police officer, was injured in the crash.
"It's your fault that I spent years to heal physically but not really mentally," Marc said in court. "I hope Christine’s memory impacts your life. You could have avoided this by calling a cab or a friend, but on April 8 you chose differently."
Morris apologized in tears. Braswell's mother, Barbara Braswell, said she had decided to forgive and pray. Last year, she filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Palm Beach County accusing Morris of negligence and recklessness.
Barbara Braswell said she had found very little comfort Friday because her daughter was not coming back.
"She was my best friend, my heart-mate and my daughter," the grieving mother said in court, as she remembered how she found out her daughter had been in a horrific crash.
Christine Braswell and Marc were on vacation in Key West. Braswell was driving a motor scooter about 1:30 a.m.. Marc was the passenger. Morris, a former Summerland Key resident, was driving Kerby D. Brown's Nissan Altima when she turned and struck them. Brown was a passenger in his car.
Morris' blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit. A Miami-Dade County medical examiner's toxicology report showed she also had cocaine and marijuana in her system.
Marc and Braswell used their time in court Friday to remind everyone who was there of the dangers of drinking and driving. Morris will also be under two years of community control and one year of probation. She also faces fines, DUI school, community service hours and will permanently lose her driver license.