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Posted at 10:10 AM ET, 02/18/2011

Drunk driver in Davies case in court

By Dana Hedgpeth

The woman who was driving drunk in an accident that severely injured D.C. United soccer player Charlie Davies and killed another friend allegedly consumed alcohol recently - a move that could get her thrown in jail before her March sentencing hearing, court papers indicate.

Maria Alejandra Espinoza, 23, was released on her own recognizance in November after she pleaded guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and maiming while driving intoxicated. A passenger, Ashley Roberta of Phoenix, Md., was killed in the accident. Davies suffered a broken fibula, tibia and femur of his right leg, torn ligaments in his left knee, a lacerated bladder, a fractured left elbow, facial injuries and serious head trauma.

The court, as a condition of her release, specifically ordered Espinoza to not drink "any" alcohol. But a Feb. 15 court filing from a U.S. probation officer alleges that she consumed alcohol.

A hearing on Espinoza's alleged violation is scheduled for Feb. 23 before U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton. If the judge finds she violated her release terms, he could order her jailed until sentencing. The revelations about Espinoza come just after D.C.United got Davies this week on a season-long loan from French club Sochaux.

Charles A. Gilman, a lawyer for the family of Ashley Roberta, who was killed in the accident, said Thursday that Roberta's parents are aware of Espinoza's alleged violation. Espinoza and Roberta met as students at the University of Maryland.

"The Robertas are very, very upset of learning of Maria's consuming any alcohol," Gilman said. "The information that was passed to them was that Maria had learned an important life lesson of how dangerous alcohol can be when driving.

"Her violation flies in the face of the representation given to the Roberta family."

Peter D. Greenspun, a prominent Fairfax trial lawyer who represents Espinoza, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The accident occurred on Oct. 13, 2009, after Espinoza, Roberta of Phoenix, Md., and Davies left a D.C. nightclub early in the morning. It was a few days after the U.S. soccer team clinched a World Cup berth and Davies, a U.S. starter at the time, was in Washington with the squad.

The trio got into a 2004 Infiniti FX35 and Espinoza drove southbound along the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Espinoza was unfamiliar with the road and how to get to Davies's hotel in Crystal City, according to court documents.

She used a GPS to guide her but missed an exit. She looked away from the road to look at the GPS as it recalculated her route. The vehicle ran off the road, hitting a guardrail, and split in half --- the back end of the Infiniti fell down a 17-foot embankment.

Roberta was pronounced dead on the scene. Davies was pinned in the back of the vehicle. After being rescued, he went through several surgeries and months of rehabilitation.

Espinoza's blood alcohol content was almost twice the legal limit at the time of the accident, court papers say. She faces a maximum sentence for both charges of 13 years but will likely be sentenced to a period of three to four years because of sentencing guidelines.

By Dana Hedgpeth  | February 18, 2011; 10:10 AM ET
Categories:  Dana Hedgpeth, From the Courthouse  
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Comments

Why is this girl not in prison yet? The accident was almost 16 months ago. Rich and privileged I assume?

Posted by: Khar77 | February 18, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Khar... not sure why you'd assume that unless you know something about her. The courts often moves slowly, some times unbelievably so.

Posted by: jake77 | February 18, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

i believe her father is a prominent doctor. they have money

Posted by: slick3 | February 18, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

@ Khar77

You know what happens when you assume?

Posted by: mbyrd28 | February 18, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

@khar, her sentencing was supposed to be today. i'm not sure why it was postponed. maybe mr. davies or the roberta family was not available on this day to give their victim impact statements, and so it got rescheduled? or maybe that is the protocol when you violate your release conditions. my question is, how did her P.O. find out she drank?

Posted by: terp871 | February 18, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Epinoza's consumption of alcohol in violation of a court order means she's either a very sick alcoholic, is incrdibly irresponsible, or just plain stupid.

Either way, she should lose her license, go to jail, and get counseling.

Posted by: ceefer66 | February 18, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

A blood-alcohol level almost twice the legal limit? A vehicle cut clear in half by the force of impact? What a nauseating example of reckless driving and stupidity.

Another article claims that both of Espinoza's parents are physicians, implying that she is at least middle-class (and hence probably able to afford competent counsel and better-than-average addiction treatment options).

Googling about the original crash, I stumbled upon a twitter account from an "Ashley Roberta" with a final tweet (dated 4/26/2009) jokingly alluding to alcohol-related regrets/excesses:

http://twitter.com/missberta

Overall a very sad episode; these types of events are so ridiculously preventable.

Posted by: FedUpInMoCo | February 18, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

No, Khar, even the poor and unspoken-for are usually allowed a free ride oftentimes. And I'm not referring to a car trip.

Hey, it isn't like she has to care. And if she does, she'll just drink until it goes away...

Posted by: JustSaying1945 | February 18, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

released on her own recognizance,after a life is taken? this country's justice system is a farcical joke! this biatchi should have been in jail long ago!

Posted by: billydee123 | February 19, 2011 11:57 PM | Report abuse

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