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Posted at 12:09 PM ET, 02/24/2011

Home detention for woman in drunk driving case

By Dana Hedgpeth

A federal judge on Thursday placed a woman recently caught consuming alcohol after pleading guilty to drunk driving charges in connection with a deadly accident under home detention.

Maria Alejandra Espinoza, 23, can only leave home for work or alcohol counseling, according to U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton's ruling. Espinoza was charged after an accident that severely injured D.C. United soccer player Charlie Davies and killed another woman.

"It's obvious I completely messed up," a crying Espinoza told Hilton during the hearing. "It was something I was told not to do. There's no excuse for it."

Espinoza was released on her own recognizance in November after pleading guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and maiming while driving intoxicated. A passenger, Ashley Roberta of Phoenix, Md., was killed in the accident.

Brenda Galbraith, a private investigator hired by Roberta's family to do surveillance of Espinoza after hearing that she was allegedly drinking again, followed her on Feb. 5., according to testimony given Thursday. Galbraith observed Espinoza sipping wine in an Italian restaurant, she testified, then followed her to a Baltimore nightclub where she observed her doing what appeared to be four or five "shots" with friends.

Davies, who recently moved to United on a season-long loan from his French club, 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.

As a condition of Espinoza's release, the court ordered her not to drink alcohol. But a Feb. 15 court filing from a U.S. probation officer alleged that she had.

The accident occurred on Oct. 13, 2009, after Espinoza, Roberta 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 Crystal City hotel, 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.

Espinoza is scheduled to be sentenced March 18. She faces a maximum sentence of 13 years for both charges, though sentencing guidelines indicate a likely sentence of three to four.

By Dana Hedgpeth  | February 24, 2011; 12:09 PM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, Dana Hedgpeth, Traffic Accidents, Updates, Virginia  
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When Espinoza leaves home for work or alcohol counseling, is she driving? If she is, that's more scary than the fact that she got caught drinking again. It might have been safer for others if she had been ordered not to drive for a certain amount of years. If she had been forbidden to drive, she could drink as much as she wanted without being a significant danger to others.

Posted by: CAmira5 | February 24, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

okay, at first i felt a little sorry for espinoza. that is a LOT to deal with, killing your bff unintentionally. but now she's just being ridiculous. she killed someone's daughter, sister, niece, etc. and she can't even take her release conditions seriously?? it's one thing to violate conditions by having a few glasses of wine in your own home--but out clubbing, pounding shots with the girls? that's just so inconsiderate and sad to me. good for the robertas for hiring a P.I.! espinoza needs to ground herself and realize she has taken someone off of this earth because of her stupid decisions. the last thing she should want to do is get drunk again.

Posted by: terp871 | February 24, 2011 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Friends don't let friends drive drunk.

Posted by: blasmaic | February 24, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: blasmaic | February 24, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Oh, boo freakin' hoo (and I WISH I could use a better word). "It's obvious I completely messed up," a crying Espinoza told Hilton during the hearing. "It was something I was told not to do. There's no excuse for it."

Translate that into "I didn't think it mattered that I killed somebody. I was just doing what I want. I didn't want to get caught." I just wish I knew when she was going to be on the road so I could avoid those times.

Posted by: JustSaying1945 | February 24, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: shadon1 | February 24, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

JustSaying1945 - Im attempting to understand your thought pattern in regards to your translation "didn't think it mattered that I killed somebody." She obviously made a bad decision by consuming alcohol, but how does this translate into what you are saying? It seems that the rationale for your argument is completely irrational.

I find it troubling how everyone is so quick to point fingers and place blame on one individual when the article clearly states that on the night of the accident three people were out together. If everyone was participating and made conscious decisions to get into the car together that night, does this not mean that everyone should accept at least some amount of responsibility for their actions?

Best wishes go out to all parties involved

Posted by: Anon751 | February 25, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Anon751, JustSaying is right on the money. Maria hasn't modulated her behavior in the least. It seems as if she doesn't truly "understand" what she has done. The Roberta's are in pain daily due to the loss of their daughter. Maria is free to drive, to watch tv, to read, to meet friends to celebrate holidays....Where are her parents to offer guidance and set some boundaries? How was she at a club with friends? I applaud the Roberta's in taking an interest, however personal, to see that Maria is following the conditions of her release. The whole scenario is beyond sad, a young woman has lost her life, a young man has lost opportunity and another has lost her future. There are no winner.

Posted by: mdmom11 | February 25, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

mdmom, while you addressed my comment, you did little to conclude upon or answer how someone of non-bias rational thought can go from Point A (violating terms by consuming alcohol) to Point B (not caring)

As stated before, it is troubling when people are willing to place blame on one party when all parties involved made conscious decisions that night to party and get in a car together.

Bottom line is people need to make smarter decisions

Posted by: Anon751 | February 25, 2011 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Anon751 - While you might want to blame everyone for their behavior that night, the only one who broke the law was the young lady who decided to drink and drive. She has broken the law again by violating her parole. That is not a person who cares...that is a criminal.

Posted by: mds35 | February 26, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

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