VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A woman who seriously injured two bicyclists while driving drunk near the Virginia Beach Oceanfront got five years in prison at her Wednesday sentencing.
Andrea DeJesus, 39, pleaded guilty last November to two counts of DUI – victim permanently impaired.
“I cannot even remotely express my remorse and shame. I am so sorry for my stupid decision,” DeJesus said to the two victims and their families as she faced them directly just before sentencing.
Prosecutors say they were on their bicycles after midnight on 19th Street last May, when DeJesus ran them over in her Nissan Sentra.
“What she said to them, how badly she felt about what happened to those girls, she meant every single word of that,” said defense attorney Anton Karpov.
Prosecutors say DeJesus had a blood alcohol level of .26, more than three times the legal limit – and one of the bikes was stuck under her car.
One victim, 20, had a broken leg, and the other who is 22 had a fractured skull. Her cousin Edwin Cabal lives in Virginia Beach and met her for the first time in intensive care.
“I did not think she would ever leave the hospital. The swelling in her brain was so large she couldn’t open her eyes.”
She was in the hospital for two months. She says her sight, hearing, smell and taste have all been damaged, and worries every time she crosses a road that “a car will hit me again”.
Judge Stephen Frucci gave Dejesus the most allowable under the agreement reached when she pleaded guilty to two counts of DUI with maiming. The family wanted more, but also shook hands with the defense attorney afterward.
“I just told (the defense attorney) as the Cabal family, you know, people make mistakes. We have to forgive, so we can heal,” Cabal said.