Woman accepts plea deal for DUI crash that injured South Dade High principal

Marilyn Aguilera to serve 5 years in prison

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor

MIAMI - A South Florida woman accepted the terms of a plea deal Friday and will spend the next five years in prison for seriously injuring a high school principal while she was driving drunk.

Marilyn Aguilera appeared clearheaded in court and took responsibility for her actions.

A Miami-Dade County judge canceled the initial plea hearing in November after Aguilera tested positive for marijuana.

Police said Aguilera was intoxicated on April, 26, 2016, when she struck Javier Perez, the principal of South Dade Senior High School, with her SUV.  Police said they found alcohol in the SUV, and her blood-alcohol level was almost triple the legal limit.

Perez lost both of his legs in the crash, which happened as he coached his son's Little League baseball game. He was not in court during Friday's plea hearing.

Another man, Elias Espinoza, was also injured. 

Under the terms of the plea deal, Aguilera will serve five years in prison and three years of probation.

Below is a statement from Javier Perez's wife, which was read in court:

"Javi and I would like to thank everyone for the messages of love and support after today's hearing. We chose not to be present at court today, simply because nothing said there would change our reality. Undoubtedly, our lives were forever changed on April 26, 2016. For the last 20 months I have prayed every day for strength and courage to be able to help my husband and children through this tragic ordeal. Both my children and I witnessed this horrific moment and it will forever be embedded in our memory and the memory of every person who was present on that baseball field- most of which were children under the age of 6. When we stop and think how many children could have been hurt that day- we realize that God was present on that field that day and protected them from being hurt or killed. By God's grace only Javi was severely hurt. 

"This tragedy caused my husband to be condemned to a lifetime of living without his legs. Every single day has been a struggle; Javi experiences pain daily, as much as we strive for a sense of normalcy- His life, our life, will never be the same. My children's innocence is gone. They are no longer carefree and worry-free kids. They look for the possibility of danger in every situation. Their lives were also forever impacted on that April day. 

"The sentence Ms. Aguilera received is far less than the sentence she imposed upon my husband and our family. She will Never know what it feels like to be in the hospital fighting for her life, to be intubated or endure a tracheotomy, or endure the pain associated with skin grafts, or undergo 23 surgeries and countless tedious and painful procedures, she will never know how it feels to wake up and be told your legs were amputated, she will Never have to withstand the painful therapies he has to endure on a weekly basis, she will never have to live her life without the use of her legs, she will never have to re-learn how to use the bathroom, shower, get dressed on her own, drive, stand or walk. 

"We hope her time in prison provides her the opportunity to learn from her mistakes so she never does this to anyone again. 

"Moreover, our greatest wish is that today serves as a teachable moment to our children, to our nieces and nephews, to our friends and family, to our students, and to all those who have followed our story- that a person's reckless choices will lead to severe consequences- that drinking and driving is a serious crime with permanent consequences. Furthermore, I pray that play areas are made safer for our children and our community so no one has to live through what our family has had to live through. 

"Please continue to pray for us as our journey is far from over. 

"Many blessings to all." 

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