Woman, 19, Charged With DUI Manslaughter
Updated On: Oct 24 2011 08:16:13 AM EDT
A 19-year-old woman now faces a DUI manslaughter charge in a crash that killed a 68-year-old woman earlier this month.
Eyder Ayala died on Oct. 3 in a crash at LeJeune Road and Majorca Avenue. Police said Ivanna Villanueva, 19, was driving an Audi that crashed into the back of Ayala's red Ford at about 80 mph.
Ayala, a mother of five and grandmother of seven, was on her way home from a McDonald's restaurant where she had worked for 20 years at the time of the crash.
Prosecutors have said that Villanueva admitted to drinking at a club before driving that morning. Local 10 has obtained toxicology reports that show Villanueva's Breathalyzer test showed she had a blood-alcohol level of 0.231 percent one hour after the crash happened. That is three times the legal limit of .08.
Villanueva initially was charged with vehicular homicide. At a hearing Monday, her charges were changed to DUI manslaughter and possessing a fake license.
Prosecutors said Villanueva used the fake license to enter clubs and drink alcohol in the hours before the crash.
Villanueva was not present at the hearing Monday, but the family of the victim was.
"We are here to seek justice for my mom, and we just want for the charges to be DUI manslaughter, so we're happy with that decision," said Brenda Vasquez, Ayala's daughter.
Villanueva's lawyer, David Marcus, represented her in court Monday and made a brief statement.
"The Villanueva family offers their deepest sympathies and will go forward from here. This is a tragic case," Marcus said.
Villanueva is still enrolled at the University of Miami and is attending classes while on house arrest.
Ayala's family has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Villanueva and her family. Ayala's relatives said they would be present at every criminal court proceeding to make sure that justice is served.
"We had to cremate her and then take her to our country, native country of Nicaragua, for burial," Vasquez said. "It's been horrible. It's a nightmare. It's a catastrophe. There's no word for it."
The next hearing in Villanueva's case is set for Jan. 13.
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