Home detention for woman in drunk driving case
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.
| February 24, 2011; 12:09 PM ET
Categories: Celebrities, Dana Hedgpeth, Traffic Accidents, Updates, Virginia
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