Driver found guilty of careless driving in death of 2 UM students

Hao Liu, Ying Chen killed while crossing street

By Terrell Forney - Reporter

MIAMI - A driver who was accused of striking and killing two University of Miami students last October was found guilty in traffic court Wednesday.

"I do remember when the accident happened, but I don't remember the details," said Milady Pequeno.

Pequeno said she was talking on the phone at the time, but was not texting while driving. She claimed a van at the same Pinecrest intersection blocked her view.

"I did stop immediately," said Pequeno. "I never got out of the car. I was nervous. I had to get my act together because I hit someone."

The two victims were Chinese graduate students at UM, Hao Liu and Ying Chen were trying to cross the street when they were hit.

Pequeno, who was not drinking, was cited on suspicion of careless driving and failure to use due care.

No arrests were made, which means the case played out in traffic court instead of criminal court -- a move that has angered loved ones of the victims.

Pequeno had her driver's license suspended for two years, received 120 hours of community service, was ordered to attend high-risk traffic school and to pay a $1,000 fine.

Friends of the victims said Wednesday that they believe the problem with the trial started with the investigation and said they don't blame the court system.

Meanwhile, the impact of the deadly incident still weighs heavily on the driver nearly a year later.

"This is not easy," said Pequeno. "I'm not a criminal, I'm a mother and I dedicate my life to my son."

Copyright 2014 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.