NATIONAL NEWS

Woman with history of DUIs sentenced to 15 years to life for California crash that killed mom-to-be

Apr 13, 2024, 4:59 PM

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California woman with a history of convictions for driving under the influence has been sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for a crash that killed a 23-year-old pregnant woman and left her baby in critical condition.

Courtney Pandolfi, 44, pleaded guilty to second degree murder earlier this year just as the case was headed for trial, the Orange County Register reported Friday.

Prosecutors said Pandolfi was on a “drug cocktail” that included cocaine and methamphetamine in August 2020 when she drove her Jeep SUV onto a sidewalk in Anaheim. striking Yesenia Aguilar, who was eight months pregnant. Aguilar’s husband, James Alvarez, was walking with her but was not injured.

Aguilar died, but her daughter was surgically delivered and survived. The girl, Adalyn Rose, is now 3 years old.

Pandolfi, of Garden Grove, was convicted of driving under the influence of drugs in 2008, 2015 and 2016. As a result, she received a warning — known as a Watson advisement — that if she continued to drive under the influence and killed someone she could be charged with murder.

Along with pleading guilty to the crash that killed Aguilar, Pandolfi also admitted to driving while on a combination of drugs, including methamphetamine and morphine, in November 2019. She also acknowledged possessing and using illegal drugs in jail while awaiting trial, the Register reported.

Speaking after the sentencing, Alvarez held Adalyn Rose and said he believed his wife’s last thoughts were about their daughter.

“She survived. I survived. So I was given a second chance in life, and I’m going to do something good out of it. I want to fight for those poor victims who lost someone in a tragic accident because of a drunk driver,” Alvarez said.

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Woman with history of DUIs sentenced to 15 years to life for California crash that killed mom-to-be