Woman pleads guilty to DUI manslaughter in 2014 wrong-way wreck on I-95

Clarissa Vargas hugs victim's brother before heading to jail

By Liane Morejon - Reporter, Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor

MIAMI - A woman pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter Wednesday in a 2014 wrong-way wreck that killed a motorcyclist.

Clarissa Vargas, 24, agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence under the terms of a plea deal.

As part of the agreement, Vargas will serve two years in state prison, followed by two years of house arrest and six years of probation. She also agreed to perform community service.

Vargas was driving north in the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 on July 19, 2014, when her car slammed head-on into a motorcycle.

Norman Mello, 42, was killed in the crash. Vargas' blood-alcohol level was more than twice the state legal limit of .08.

Vargas must also contribute to a scholarship fund in Mello's honor, complete speaking engagements with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and write yearly letters to Mello's mother.

Mello's family also agreed to the plea deal.

"No amount of jail time is going to change what happened. No amount of jail time is going to bring back my brother," brother Scott Mello said. "But her working with the community and going forward will serve some purpose that's greater than him, we hope."

Before Vargas was led away in handcuffs, she said goodbye to her family and shared a hug with Scott Mello.

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